After six months of the city of Fort Worth testing out operating its own bitcoin mining machine, staff is recommending that the city continue mining.

The pilot project garnered more than 752 million web impressions, as the city tries to rebrand itself as one open to technology and innovation, Carlo Capua, the city’s chief of strategy and innovation, said during a presentation Nov. 1. The city also made some money from mining — $1,019.31 in six months, after electricity costs.

 Capua didn’t specify how much they spent on electricity, but he did say the machine takes the equivalent of a household vacuum cleaner.

“I predict that one day, we will look back on this day, and know this was our zero to one moment,” Capua said. “This was our pivotal moment for Fort Worth, to be known globally as a city for innovation and technology.”

Fort Worth made international headlines with the announcement in countries such as Mexico and Malaysia. 

Mayor Mattie Parker spoke about the mining machines on Fox Business and at a tech conference in Austin in October called Reuters Momentum. She also spoke on CNBC. 

Fort Worth began the pilot program in April, when city officials received three mining machines from the Texas Blockchain Council. It’s part of a larger effort to sell Fort Worth as a city that is open to innovation and technology. 

“I’ve been joking that we’re Cowtown and cryptocurrency, right?” Parker said on a Twitter stream during the launch. “It’s all happening in Fort Worth.”

Two months later, the city exchanged the original Bitmain Antiminer S9s for one that required 18% less energy and mined 147% more bitcoin. The energy footprint of the machine was equivalent to a household vacuum cleaner, Capua said. 

One reason the announcement got attention is because of the city’s contract with Quinn PR to promote economic development in the city. The city is also using an ad agency to promote Fort Worth’s economic development. 

Capua clarified that the pilot project was not an investment or daytrading bitcoin but an opportunity to study the implications and opportunities of implementing mining. 

Capua said they learned a few things about the cryptocurrency in Fort Worth, like the fact the Fort Worth Zoo, United Way of Tarrant County, Texas Christian University accepts bitcoin donations and that Fort Worth is home to the largest crypto ATM services in the country, Coinsource.

Parker said the pilot project was an interesting experiment. There were naysayers, she said, but they warmed up to the idea after seeing how it would highlight Fort Worth. 

“They did acknowledge that the opportunity for Fort Worth to be mentioned in some of these publications and in a positive way has been really exciting,” Parker said. “I learned a lot in the process.” 

Seth Bodine is a business and economic development reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at seth.bodine@fortworthreport.org and follow on Twitter at @sbodine120.

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Seth Bodine

Seth Bodine is the business reporter for the Fort Worth Report. He previously covered agriculture and rural issues in Oklahoma for the public radio station, KOSU, as a Report for America corps member....