(NewsNation) — Fort Worth, Texas is officially the first city in the United States with bitcoin mining, after their city council’s unanimous vote Tuesday.
Mayor Mattie Parker is implementing the small-scale program as a tech pilot project that will start off as an experiment before determining whether it will receive major funding.
“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,” Parker said in a news release. “Fort Worth is where the future begins.”
Bitcoin is mined by complex computer rigs that validate blocks trades — which are high-volume transactions.
When done correctly, these blocks are added to the blockchain record and miners are rewarded with a small number of bitcoins.
According to USA Today, Fort Worth will have three small rig mines that will require professional-grade equipment, technical savviness and electricity.
The report describe the initiative’s three machines being as small as toaster ovens, which consume the same amount of energy as a household vacuum cleaner.
Miners there will be hosted on a private network, where they will determine the safety hazards.
“For Fort Worth, a lot of people don’t know who we are,” Parker said in an interview with CNBC. “We want to change that conversation, and we believe that tech innovation including cryptocurrency is the way we’re going to do that. … This is something brand new for any city. There’s a lot of policy here that we’ve had to jump through hoops to understand.”
The three “Bitmain S-9” mining rigs will operate 24 hours over the next six months within the government’s IT department at City Hall.
Gregory Di Prisco is the CEO of RWA Company — a company that pledges to bridge the gap between the legacy credit markets. He told NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” on Wednesday that the move is ahead of its time.
“Other states will take notice when Fort Worth’s balance sheet is the strongest in the country. Because holding an asset like bitcoin as it continues to accrue value because of it’s inherent utility to the global economy, Fort Worth is going to be getting in at a very good price,” he said.
But acceptance is not nationwide.
“It’s a tale of two countries. You have New York that’s a high tax state … shutting down innovation. Just yesterday, they voted to make bitcoin money illegal. And then you’ve got a state like Texas that’s literally using its municipalities energy to mine bitcoin — opening their doors to innovation, keeping taxes low and, frankly, innovating at a pace that other states aren’t,” Di Prisco continued.
Even as bitcoin has fallen over 21% from its November all-time high, it is gaining mainstream recognition as a long-term currency.
This week, Fidelity announced they it add a bitcoin investment option to their retirement plans. The trial has potential to catch on across the nation if successful, given the drop in price since China banned cryptocurrency mining in 2021.