Fort Worth, Texas just became the first municipality in the country to start mining Bitcoin out of city hall.
The city council approved a resolution on Tuesday to accept three Bitcoin mining rigs from the Texas Blockchain Council, a non-profit industry trade group. In doing so, it’s become the first in the U.S. to run a pilot program in which the city government will quite literally be mining Bitcoin twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
“The City Council desires for the City to be a local government sector leader and jurisdiction of choice in the Industry by welcoming and encouraging the growth of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology companies in Fort Worth,” the resolution, adopted April 26, reads.
The three miners were, together, valued at around $2,100, and will revert back to ownership by the Council in the event that the city terminates their agreement, per the resolution. With the acceptance of the resolution, Fort Worth also officially declared the city “crypto-friendly” and “welcoming to the Industry.” The city did not respond to a request for comment.
The pilot will start at six months long, at which point its status will be revisited, the resolution reads. The rigs will run around the clock and be maintained by city employees at the Information Technology Solutions Department Data Center at Fort Worth City Hall, Bloomberg reported.
“With the support and partnership of the 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,” Mayor Mattie Parker said in a statement quoted by the Fort Worth Business Press.
The donation comes just as Texas embraces a Bitcoin boom: With low energy costs and without much by way of regulation, the state has become the fourth highest producer of Bitcoin in the country, after New York, Kentucky, and Georgia. The oil-producing state has become notably attractive for miners powering rigs with surplus natural gas emitted by oil wells that lack the pipeline infrastructure to transport it, and thus, are left leaking or flaring it into the atmosphere. The Bitcoin industry has been embraced by federal legislators like Senator Ted Cruz and state legislators like Governor Greg Abbott in part for its potential to bolster the buildout of wind energy, and for its potential to aid the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas (ERCOT) weather grid strain during harsh weather.
The Texas Blockchain Council has become an active lobbying group in the lone star state over the last few years.. In 2021, the state passed a bill adding cryptocurrency to the state’s Uniform Commercial Code, effectively making “virtual currency” valid for commercial transactions — a piece of legislation that the Texas Blockchain Council also said it spearheaded. The council has also devoted lobbying dollars to legislation that would eliminate taxes on the sales of stranded natural gas to Bitcoin mines.
Spokespeople for the Texas Blockchain Council were not immediately available for comment.