The data center at Fort Worth City Hall has been humming since Tuesday when the city government began mining for Bitcoin as part of a six-month pilot project. Mayor Mattie Parker hopes this will position the city as a leader in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors.
“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,” Parker said in a statement. “These small but powerful machines mark Fort Worth’s larger commitment to becoming a leading hub for technology and innovation.”
The Fort Worth City Council voted Tuesday night to accept the Texas Blockchain Council’s donation of three S9 Bitcoin mining machines, which will run 24/7 on a private network in City Hall’s climate-controlled data center. The city is reportedly the first municipal government in the country to undertake such an effort.
Bitcoin mining is the process of creating new bitcoins on a blockchain. The mining process requires sophisticated computers that work to solve a complex computational math problem. The first computer to find the solution to the problem receives the next block of bitcoins on the blockchain.
A large amount of energy is required to power the computers working on these math problems, but Fort Worth officials estimate that each of its machines will use the same amount of energy as a household vacuum cleaner. The city said the energy consumed by the Bitcoin mining machines will be paid for with the value of the Bitcoin that is mined.
By limiting its pilot program to three machines, Lee Bratcher, founder and president of Texas Blockchain Council, said Fort Worth will be able to learn about Bitcoin’s potential impact and opportunities. The city will evaluate the project at the end of the six-month pilot program.
“By starting small to learn as they go, Fort Worth is positioning itself to be the Bitcoin mining capital of Texas,” Bratcher said. “The state as a whole has already established itself as the Bitcoin mining capital of the world.”