“This is a very small opportunity for Fort Worth that has a big possible return on investment,” said Mayor Mattie Parker. “We are a city that is open for technology innovation, and cryptocurrency is part of that future.”
According to the resolution agreed to by the city council, Fort Worth will receive a donation of three Bitcoin mining machines from the Texas Blockchain Council “with a total value of approximately $2,100” under the condition that they are used for mining.
The resolution says that the pilot program will “be revisited at or around the six month mark.”
According to Parker, “each machine’s electricity use is the equivalent of a household vacuum cleaner.”
During a Twitter audio forum Tuesday afternoon, Lee Bratcher, the president of the Texas Blockchain Council, highlighted that “the pilot is costing taxpayers no money.”
“The machines are donated, they’re covering the cost of any electricity by the profitability of the machines,” said Bratcher. “And then there’s obviously profit above that—not massive amounts, very small numbers.”
Parker says that the pilot program will make Fort Worth the first city in the world to mine Bitcoin.
“It’s not really about making money for us,” said Parker. “This is about no cost to our taxpayers and just exploring how to integrate digital assets in our operations as the City of Fort Worth.”
Fort Worth’s adoption of a program to mine Bitcoin is the latest development in the push for cryptocurrency use in Texas and the United States that will likely continue in the years ahead.
Last September, the People’s Bank of China outlawed cryptocurrency transactions. With the inevitable decline in Chinese bitcoin mining, much of the 21st-century industry is migrating to the United States and Texas.
Since large Bitcoin mining operations require lots of energy, access to Texas’ energy grid is appealing for miners.
Proponents of the industry, such as Bratcher, have also posited it as a practical solution to the grid problems that the state experienced in February 2021, contending that the large amounts of energy required for mining could be the first thing to turn off in periods of high demand.
“Bitcoin is so decentralized [. . .] there’s not a geographic hub to it, but Bitcoin mining has a physical component to it. There’s an infrastructure component,” said Bratcher. “So a lot of these facilities are going in around West Texas, Central Texas.”
With Fort Worth being centrally located to the growth of mining in Texas, Bratcher and Parker believe it could be a hub for the industry in the future.
“When you think about the opportunity for our community to be the next tech city, cryptocurrencies are at the center of that,” said Parker.
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Daniel Friend is the Marketing and Media Manager for The Texan. After graduating with a double-major in Political Science and Humanities, he wrote for The Texan as a reporter through June 2022. In his spare time, you're likely to find him working on The Testimony of Calvin Lewis, an Abolition of Man-inspired novel and theatrical podcast.