Amid Twitter fanfare on April 26, Fort Worth became the first municipal government in the country to mine its own bitcoin.
parker was eager to share the news. She tweeted herself inside the Fort Worth data center at City Hall as she connected cables to power up three small bitcoin mining machines on April 26.
“I’ve been kidding that we’re cowtown and cryptocurrency, right?” parker said on the broadcast. “everything is happening in fort worth.”
Standing next to Parker, Lee Bratcher, Chairman of the Texas Blockchain Council, described Texas as the epicenter of bitcoin mining worldwide. Now, he told her, Fort Worth is taking steps to become the state’s bitcoin mining capital.
Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency, a digital currency that is not backed by an establishment such as a bank. To make sure every bitcoin transaction is verified, machines on 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 exchange as a prize to the first miner who solves the mathematical problem. this process is called mining.
the city of fort worth will mine with three bitmain antminer s9 machines donated by the texas blockchain council, an organization comprised of businesses and individuals working in the cryptocurrency industries. The miners, worth a total of $2,100, will operate 24 hours a day in the IT solutions department at Fortworth City Hall in a six-month pilot program.
The pilot program isn’t 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 any company that’s on the cutting edge of technology, they’re all talking about crypto.”
during the twitter live chat, parker said she came up with the idea when she was running for mayor and started talking with les kreis, director of steelhead capital, about how the city can be at the forefront of the technology.
the city of fort worth has been trying to sell itself as an innovative place for tech workers to grow their companies or relocate. it recently established a council committee on entrepreneurship and innovation and funded the techstars fitness health fort worth accelerator program, according to previous reports from the fort worth report.
Some crypto advocates believe the industry has something to gain if city government officials dive into bitcoin mining. the federal government is contemplating the use of a digital currency, and the federal reserve published a document analyzing the pros and cons in January.
Other countries, such as China, have banned the use of cryptocurrencies, fearing 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 mine bitcoin, said dennis porter, a bitcoin advocate who hosted the twitter conversation with parker.
“So to have a city that actually does that now, it’s almost like a dream come true, I’m sure, for a lot of miners in space,” Porter said during the broadcast.
Parker said the program will be operated by a combination of his office, the Texas Blockchain Council and the City of Fortworth IT Department.
texas has opened up to the entry of cryptocurrency companies. last year, lawmakers passed a law that recognized 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 the machines make from mining bitcoins will be small, and the machines consume the same amount of energy as a vacuum cleaner, parker said.
That’s not exactly true. Some criticism of bitcoin mining focuses on the sheer amount of energy it consumes, according to reports. And mining machines consume more power over time, said Kelly Matanza, an associate professor with a background in fintech at Texas Christian University.
As computers become more powerful and better at solving problems quickly, servers make problems harder. that makes the computer work harder, which means it consumes more power. it consumes power, he said, but so do other servers.
“something he’s been working on for decades is how we make servers use less electricity.” slaughter said. “so I don’t know if bitcoin would really be as prominent as if it was classified as what else actually consumes electricity.”
cryptocurrency is a transparent process, he said. if people know the address number of the account, they can see all the transactions made. she said she could make the city government more transparent if she started transacting through a cryptocurrency system and published her account address.
“In fact, you now have a public ledger, which in my opinion makes the city government more accountable to the people than ever before. In fact, I can look in real time and see the tax collections that they have been doing,” Matanza said.