Fort Worth, Texas, is now the first U.S. city government to extract bitcoins, and in an almost poetic devotion to the initiative, Mayor Mattie Parker oversaw the construction of a small mining farm in City Hall.
Three Bitmain Antminer S9 mining platforms will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the Fort Worth City Council’s air-conditioned information technology area. The city says miners will be housed in a private network to minimize security risk.
Bitcoin works on a working test mining model, which means that miners around the world use high-powered computers to create new bitcoins and validate transactions simultaneously. The process requires professional quality equipment, some technical knowledge and a lot of electricity. That’s why the Fort Worth pilot project is just beginning, according to the mayor.
The mayor of Fort Worth breaks the city’s bitcoin mining pilot project
Each of the three machines in the program will consume the same amount of energy as a home vacuum cleaner, according to city estimates. Although the mayor does not expect the three miners to be the main producers of money, the The cost of electricity needed for the program is expected to be offset by the value of the extracted bitcoin.
In addition to adding bitcoins to the city’s balance sheet, Parker, who took office last year and is the city’s first millennial mayor, believes betting on bitcoin will go a long way in 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’re going to do it.”
Fort Worth brand change
Building a three-device mine, even in a cryptocurrency-friendly jurisdiction like Texas, requires clearing bureaucracy.
“This is something new for any city,” Parker said. “There’s a lot of politics here that we had to jump between hoops to understand.”
To make this happen, the city has teamed up with some key partners, including the Texas Blockchain Council, which donated the three mining platforms (each worth about $ 600 each), and Luxor Technologies, a mining group, which allows a just a miner. combines its hashing power with thousands of other miners around the world to increase your chances of earning bitcoins.
Parker, who has been at work for almost a year, came up with the idea of getting into bitcoin after talking to some friends in the venture capital world, who told him that 80% of venture capital is spent primarily on technology and that cryptocurrencies are in the center of that right now.
“We’re the fastest growing city in the country. There’s a lot of excitement in North Texas and Fort Worth in particular. To really maintain that energy, we have to push ourselves differently and we think cryptocurrency is a big part of our future economy.” said Parker.
After six months, Fort Worth will re-evaluate and decide whether to sink real money into building a mine.
Bitcoin mine within Fort Worth county
Alex Brammer, vice president of business development at Luxor, says the Fort Worth move will strengthen the legitimacy of bitcoin as a strategic asset.
“Mayor Parker is leading by example and eliminating the risks of bitcoin mining and bitcoin treasury strategies for all other mayors in the country, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more announcements like this in the future,” Brammer said.
Brammer also cited the possibility that governments could use bitcoin mining to help stabilize power grids in the transition to clean energy.
“In the future, bitcoin mines are likely to be located alongside industrial-scale battery storage to provide network reaffirmation services that prevent power outages and other network disruptions caused by the addition of intermittent wind and solar generation. , it would make sense for cities to start financing and building large – scale mining infrastructure themselves. “
Texas Blockchain Council President Lee Bratcher, who works with bitcoin miners across the state, is also optimistic about Fort Worth’s prospects.
“Fort Worth has the geographic proximity of miners and a solidary city leadership that make it a favorite to be the bitcoin mining capital of Texas and therefore the United States,” Bratcher said.
For now, the project is not really about profits or helping to repair Texas’ temperamental power grid. Instead, it’s about being the first to move and normalize the idea of a city government mining bitcoins and putting the world’s largest cryptocurrency on its balance sheet.
“That’s out of the box for any government, right? Usually things move at a snail’s pace. And in Fort Worth, we want to do things differently and get into the room,” the mayor said.