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City of Fort Worth Pioneering in the 21st Century with Cryptocurrency

April 28,2022

See full Fort Worth Magazine article by FWTX Staff here.

Technology and innovation have a place at the table in Fort Worth, Texas, and to prove it, the City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to make the city the first municipality in the U.S. to mine bitcoin in a pilot program with a nonprofit partner.

This is as big a deal symbolically as it is in practicality, officials say.

The city launched the program in partnership with the Texas Blockchain Council. Officials say the program recognizes the exponential growth of the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while advancing Fort Worth’s goal of becoming a leading center of tech and innovation.

“With blockchain technology and cryptocurrency revolutionizing the financial landscape, we want to transform Fort Worth into a tech-friendly city,” Mayor Mattie Parker says in a statement. “Today, with the support and partnership of Texas Blockchain Council, we’re stepping into that world on a small scale while sending a big message — Fort Worth is where the future begins.”

Three machines donated by the Texas Blockchain Council will run day and night — 24/7 — for the next six months in the climate-controlled Information Technology Solutions Department Data Center located at City Hall where they will be housed on a private network to minimize security risk, according to a news release distributed by the city.

Texas Blockchain Council is a nonprofit association made up of companies and individuals that work in Bitcoin, Bitcoin mining, crypto, and blockchain industries. The donation was formally accepted by the City Council on Tuesday.

“These small but powerful machines mark Fort Worth’s larger commitment to becoming a leading hub for technology and innovation,” Parker says.

Bitcoin mining is the process by which new bitcoins are entered into circulation. “Mining” is performed using sophisticated hardware that solves an extremely complex computational math problem. The first computer to find the solution to the problem receives the next block of bitcoins and the process begins again.

“The Texas Blockchain Council is thrilled to be part of this first-of-its-kind pilot program as the City of Fort Worth begins mining Bitcoin,” says Lee Bratcher, president and founder of Texas Blockchain Council. “By starting small to learn as they go, 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.”

By limiting the pilot program’s focus to three machines, the city achieves the goals of responsibly assessing and executing a municipal Bitcoin mining program at a manageable scale. After six months, the city will evaluate the program.

The program is part of Fort Worth’s larger plan for growth, building momentum onto recent efforts including partnerships with Texas A&M University System’s planned Research and Innovation Center in Downtown Fort Worth and Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator, and the establishment of the city’s first Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council Committee to build a next-level entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Based on the number and type of machines being used, the city estimates each will consume the same amount of energy as a household vacuum cleaner. The nominal amount of energy needed for the program is expected to be offset by the value of Bitcoin mined. Keeping the pilot program small enables the city to learn the potential impact and opportunities for Bitcoin.

“Texas is increasingly being recognized as the global leader in Bitcoin and blockchain, and Fort Worth will have a seat at that table,” says Robert Sturns, the city’s director of economic development. “The pioneering spirit is alive and well in Fort Worth, and with this program, we will attract dynamic companies that share in this vision for the future.”

In the Economic Development Strategic Plan of the City of Fort Worth adopted by the City Council, the city has set a goal of “a ‘next-level’ economic development strategy must encourage innovation and creativity, build an environment that is attractive to talented individuals and dynamic businesses, and maintain a forward-looking organizational structure.”