Fort Worth embraces cryptocurrency, becomes first city in U.S. to mine Bitcoin

Amid the fanfare of Twitter on April 26, Fort Worth became the first city government to mine its own Bitcoin.

Parker was eager to share the news. It was aired on Twitter inside the Fort Worth data center at City Hall while connecting the cables to power three small Bitcoin mining machines on April 26th.

“I just said we’re Cowtown and cryptocurrency, right?” said Parker in the stream. “It’s all happening in Fort Worth.”

Standing next to Parker, Lee Bratcher, president of the Texas Blockchain Council, described Texas as the epicenter of Bitcoin mining worldwide. Now, he said, Fort Worth is taking steps to become the capital of Bitcoin mining in the state.

Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency, a digital currency that is not supported by an establishment such as a bank. To make sure that every Bitcoin transaction is verified, the machines in a network compete to solve a complicated math problem. If the machine resolves it first, it becomes the official record of the transaction. A Bitcoin is given in return as a reward to the first miner to solve the math problem. This process is called mining.

The city of Fort Worth will operate three Bitmain Antminer S9 machines donated by the Texas Blockchain Council, an organization made up of companies and individuals working in the cryptocurrency industries. The miners, with a total value of $ 2,100, will operate 24 hours a day in the Fort Worth City Council Department of Information Technology Solutions in a six-month pilot program.

The pilot is not just about testing cryptocurrencies, Parker said.

“It’s bigger than that,” he said. “We want to be a city that is at the forefront of technological innovation. And what I’ve noticed lately is that every company that is at the forefront of technology, everyone is talking about cryptocurrency. “

During the live Twitter conversation, Parker said it occurred to her when she ran for mayor and began talking to Steelhead Capital director Les Kreis about how the city can be at the forefront of technology.

The city of Fort Worth has tried to sell itself as an innovative place for tech workers to grow or move their businesses. He recently created a committee on the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council and funded the Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator program, according to previous Fort Worth Report reports.

Some proponents of cryptocurrency believe the industry has something to gain from city government officials dipping their toes into Bitcoin mining. The federal government is considering the use of a digital currency and the Federal Reserve has released a document discussing the pros and cons in January.

Other countries, such as China, have banned the use of cryptocurrencies for fear of economic instability and to prevent financial crime, according to the World Economic Forum.

People in the industry have promoted the idea that cities, states, and the national government should extract Bitcoin, said Dennis Porter, a Bitcoin advocate who hosted the Twitter conversation with Parker.

“So having a city do it now, it’s almost like a dream come true, I’m sure, for many space miners,” Porter said during the broadcast.

Parker said the program will be operated by a combination of his office, Texas Blockchain Council and the Fort Worth City IT department.

Texas has been open to the entry of cryptocurrency companies. Last year, lawmakers passed a law recognizing cryptocurrency in the state’s Uniform Commercial Code. Another law established a panel to develop a plan for the expansion of the blockchain industry. The city of Denton recently saw the entry of a cryptocurrency mining site.

The amount of money Bitcoin mining machines make will be small and the machines will consume the same amount of energy as a vacuum cleaner, Parker said.

That is not exactly true. Some criticism of Bitcoin mining focuses on the sheer amount of energy it occupies, according to reports. And mining machines take on more power over time, said Kelly Slaughter, an associate professor with experience in fintech at Texas Christian University.

As computers become more powerful and improve to solve problems quickly, servers make problems more difficult. This causes the computer to work harder, which means it needs more power. It takes up energy, he said, but so do other servers.

“Something you’ve been working on for decades is how do we get servers to use less electricity?” Slaughter said. “So I don’t know if Bitcoin would really be as prominent as if it were ranked in what needs electricity the most.”

Cryptocurrency is a transparent process, he said. If people know the account address number, they can see all transactions made. He said he could make the city government more transparent by starting transactions through a cryptocurrency system and posting his account address.

“In fact, you now have a public book, which in my mind makes the city government more accountable than ever to the people. I can look in real time and see the tax collections they’ve been doing,” Slaughter said.

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