Paxful, Bitcoin Foundation to fund Qala Fellowship

Ray Youssef and Artur Schaback; Co-founders of Paxful
Ray Youssef and Artur Schaback; Co-founders of Paxful

Paxful, the leading global peer-to-peer fintech platform with 2.5 million African users, announced that it will be donating to the Human Rights Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies. Paxful will be making the donation alongside the Built With Bitcoin Foundation, a humanitarian organization devoted to creating equitable opportunity by providing clean water, access to quality education, sustainable farming, and humanitarian support—all powered by cryptocurrencies.

The donation will fund the Qala Fellowship, a program to find and grow local Nigerian talent starting with developers to build careers in the Bitcoin space. The Qala Fellowship, which is currently accepting applications, aims to get more developers from Africa working on Bitcoin, building their own companies, contributing to open source, and/or getting jobs working on Bitcoin in different companies. Developers will also receive a monthly stipend so they can stay focused on course work.

Starting with ten developers, the academy’s inaugural programme will consist of a six-month intensive bootcamp focused on how to build on Bitcoin and provide students with the resources they need to succeed -- such as connections for internships or full-time roles and guidance on contributing to core and other Bitcoin open source projects. During the course, participants will also hear career talks from other developers, CEOs, product managers, and experienced players in the Bitcoin space. The goal is to scale the initiative by developing a framework and curriculum that can be replicated for similar programs in both Nigeria and other parts of the world.

Ray Youssef, Co-Founder and CEO of Paxful, said: “Paxful follows energy and it’s clear that the Nigerian youth will make a profound impact on the global economy through Bitcoin. They have entrepreneurship baked into their DNA but they have not been given the chance to showcase their talent on the global stage. First and foremost, the Qala Fellowship is a career roadmap for Nigerian developers. But it also is a way to support the local economy and a means for Bitcoin to capture more developer mindshare. We’re proud to fund this project and cannot wait to see what these developers create.”

Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer at the Human Rights Foundation, said: “If Bitcoin is going to be a global currency, then it needs to be built by people around the world. There are millions upon millions of Bitcoin users in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and other nations, but relatively few Bitcoin developers and contributors coming from these regions. We are delighted to support the Qala Fellowship to bring more African perspectives and talents into the Bitcoin project and ecosystem.”

Bernard Parah, Program Lead of the Qala Fellowship and the Co-Founder and CEO of Bitnob, said: “Growing up in Nigeria, I have a fierce sense of pride for local developers looking to make a difference. I’ve also seen what Bitcoin is capable of doing - with far-reaching implications beyond speculation. I’m incredibly proud to lead the development and enactment of this program as I believe that Africa has a lot to contribute to the Bitcoin economy. And we’re just getting started.”


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