Bitcoin mining comes to city hall
Fort Worth, Texas, has installed three bitcoin mining machines in its data center as part of a six-month pilot to assess the implications and opportunities of minting cryptocurrency.
Fort Worth, Texas, has installed bitcoin mining machines in city hall.
Mayor Mattie Parker turned on three Bitmain Antminer S9s bitcoin mining machines in the Information Technology Solutions Department’s data center.
The six-month pilot program that began April 26 was made possible by the Texas Blockchain Council, a nonprofit association that works in bitcoin, bitcoin mining, crypto and blockchain industries. The Blockchain Council donated the machines, which combined are worth about $2,100, and the city council adopted a resolution to accept them.
“With blockchain technology and cryptocurrency revolutionizing the financial landscape, we want to transform Fort Worth into a tech-friendly city,” Parker said in the announcement. “These small but powerful machines mark Fort Worth’s larger commitment to becoming a leading hub for technology and innovation.”
The overall goal of the pilot is for Fort Worth “to understand the implications and opportunities for bitcoin mining and try to learn hands on,” Parker said in an interview on Twitter Spaces.
“It's not lost on me that every major tech company or emerging field right now is talking about cryptocurrency,” she said. “As a mayor of a large city, we have a responsibility to think outside the box and importantly work with private sector partners to think about what the future of the economy is going to look like, not just in Fort Worth, but across the entire globe.”
In 2021, the Texas legislature established a working group to expand the state’s blockchain industry and recommend policies and investments. The state also passed legislation adding cryptocurrency to its Uniform Commercial Code, making it valid for commercial transactions.
The mining machines are dedicated to solving complex computational math problems in order to create new bitcoins.
Fort Worth will join the Luxor Technologies mining pool where it can combine its hashing power with thousands of other miners all over the world to increase their chances of earning bitcoin.
The city estimates each machine will consume the same amount of energy as a household vacuum cleaner and generate enough bitcoin to cover the cost of the power. Parker said the city will initially keep the cryptocurrency in a special fund and “turn them into general fund at some point.” After six months officials will see how much revenue they’re generating and make decisions about the project.
By limiting the pilot program’s focus to three machines, the city can assess and execute a municipal bitcoin mining program at a manageable scale and explore integrating digital assets into city operations. Parker said.
With so many cryptocurrency mining facilities setting up shop in central and west Texas to take advantage of lower energy prices and a business-friendly regulatory environment, Fort Worth has an opportunity to be a leader in bitcoin mining, even the site of a commodity exchange, Parker said.
“Fort Worth is positioning itself to be the bitcoin mining capital of Texas. The state as a whole has already established itself as the bitcoin mining capital of the world,” said Lee Bratcher, president and founder of Texas Blockchain Council.
Bitcoin miners are not only contributing jobs and tax revenue to the state and local jurisdictions, Bratcher said in the Twitter Spaces conversation, but they are also providing some grid resilience with their ability to quickly shut down operations and shift energy back to the grid. Additionally, he said, the blockchain ecosystem is “incentivizing additional wind and solar by being that energy buyer [of] first and last resort that can be located there next to the generation asset -- whether that's wind, solar, natural gas.”
“The pioneering spirit is alive and well in Fort Worth,” said Fort Worth Director of Economic Development Robert Sturns. “With this program we will attract dynamic companies that share in this vision for the future.”
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