Fort Worth, Texas, is now the first city government in the United States to mine bitcoin — and in an almost poetic dedication to the initiative, Mayor Matty Parker oversaw the construction of a small mining farm in Cityhall.
Three Bitmain Antminer S9 mining rigs will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in the climate-controlled IT suite at Fort Worth City Hall. The city says the miners will be hosted on a private network to reduce security risks.
Bitcoin operates on a Proof of Work mining model, which means that miners around the world operate high-powered computers to simultaneously generate new bitcoins and validate transactions. The process requires professional equipment, some know-how, and a lot of electricity. That’s why the Fort Worth pilot project started small, according to the mayor.
The mayor of Fort Worth breaks the city’s Bitcoin mining pilot
According to city estimates, each of the three machines of the program will consume the same amount of energy as a household vacuum cleaner. While the mayor does not expect the three miners to be major money makers, the The electricity cost for the program is expected to be offset by the value of the bitcoins mined.
In addition to adding bitcoin to the city’s balance sheet, Parker — who took office last year and is the city’s first-ever millennial mayor — believes the penchant for bitcoin will go a long way toward putting Fort Worth on the map.
“For Fort Worth, a lot of people don’t know who we are,” Parker told CNBC.
“We want to change that conversation, and we believe that technological innovation, including cryptocurrency, is the way we are going to do that.”
Building a three-platform mine, even in a crypto-friendly jurisdiction like Texas, requires the removal of red tape.
“This is something completely new for any city,” Parker said. “There’s a lot of politics here that we’ve had to go through hoops to understand.”
To achieve this, the city has teamed up with a few major partners, including the Texas Blockchain Council, which donated its three mining hardware (each valued at about $600 a piece), and Luxor Technologies, a mining pool that allows a single miner to pool power Hash with thousands of other miners around the world to increase their chances of earning bitcoin.
Parker, who has been in this position for about a year, came up with the idea of breaking into bitcoin after speaking with a few friends in the venture capital world, who told her that 80% of venture capital is spent primarily on technology, and cryptocurrency is at the center of it right now.
“We are the fastest growing city in the country. There is a lot of excitement around North Texas and Fort Worth, in particular. To really keep that energy going, we have to push ourselves differently, and we believe cryptocurrency is a huge part of the economy of the future,” Parker said.
Six months later, Fort Worth will reassess and decide whether to spend real money building a mine.
Bitcoin miner inside Fort Worth city hall
Alex Brammer, vice president of business development for Luxor, says the Fort Worth move will strengthen bitcoin’s legitimacy as a strategic asset.
“Mayor Parker is setting a model and effectively mitigating the risks of both bitcoin mining and bitcoin treasury strategies for every other mayor in the country, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more announcements like this in the future,” Brammer said.
Brammer also noted the possibility that governments could use bitcoin mining to help stabilize electrical grids in the transition to clean energy.
“In the future, bitcoin mining combined with battery storage on an industrial scale will likely provide grid stability services that prevent blackouts and other outages in the grid due to the addition of choppy wind and solar power generation. In this context, it would make sense for cities to You begin to finance and build a large-scale mining infrastructure.”
Texas Blockchain Council Chairman Lee Bratcher, who works with bitcoin miners across the state, is also bullish about the prospects for Fort Worth.
“Fort Worth has a geographic proximity to miners and a supportive city leadership that puts it in front of the candidates to be the bitcoin mining capital of Texas, and by extension the United States,” Bratcher said.
At the moment, the project is not really about profits nor help Fixing the Mood Power Grid in Texas. Instead, it is about being the first mover and normalizing the idea of a city government mining bitcoin and putting the world’s largest cryptocurrency on its balance sheet.
“That’s out of the box for any government, isn’t it? Things usually move at a slow pace. And in Fort Worth, we want to do things differently and we want to enter the room somewhat,” the mayor said.
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