Fort Worth has become the first city government in the United States to mine Bitcoin, embracing cryptocurrencies to become a leading center of technology and innovation.

During the six-month pilot program – established by the Office of Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker and the City of Fort Worth in partnership with the Texas Blockchain Council – Bitcoin will be mined using three donated machines.

By limiting mining to three machines, the city hopes to achieve its goal of responsibly assessing and executing a municipal Bitcoin mining program at a manageable scale. After six months, the city will evaluate the program.

“With blockchain technology and cryptocurrency revolutionizing the financial landscape, we want to transform Fort Worth into a tech-friendly city,” Parker said in a press release. “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.”

Late last month, the S9 Bitcoin mining machines began running on a 24/7 basis in the climate-controlled Information Technology Solutions Department Data Center located at Fort Worth City Hall, where they are housed on a private network to minimize security risk.

The city estimates each of the three machines will consume the same amount of energy as a household vacuum cleaner. The amount of energy needed for the program is expected to be offset by the value of Bitcoin mining.

Keeping the pilot program small, according to city officials, enables the city to learn the potential impact and opportunities for Bitcoin. However, these “small but powerful machines” mark Fort Worth’s larger commitment to becoming a leading hub for technology and innovation, Parker said.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk State and Local Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.