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Fort Worth Could Start Mining Bitcoin in ‘Crypto-Friendly’ Bid

If passed, tomorrow’s city council vote would see the city of Fort Worth begin mining Bitcoin as part of a six-month pilot program.

3 min read
Fort Worth is the fifth-largest city in Texas. Image: Shutterstock.

The Fort Worth City Council may begin mining Bitcoin on loaner rigs from the Texas Blockchain Council. 

The vote, scheduled for tomorrow, would officially declare the city “crypto-friendly” and set up a six-month Bitcoin mining pilot program using three mining rigs donated by the Texas Blockchain Council, according to the resolution

It did not specify what kind of machines the council would donate, except to say that their total value is $2,100. And in the event the city decides to stop mining Bitcoin, the agreement says the rigs would be returned to the Texas Blockchain Council. 

The council, a Richardson, Texas-based nonprofit founded in 2020, was launched with the aim of making Texas “the jurisdiction of choice for blockchain innovation.” It has been especially active in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, advocating for Gov. Greg Abbott’s embrace of Bitcoin miners and rallying support for two major pieces of crypto legislation last year.

In 2021, the Texas legislature voted to approve the Virtual Currencies Bill to update the state’s Uniform Commercial Code to define “virtual currencies” and how to establish control over them. Texas lawmakers also approved a law to create a 16-member blockchain working group to “develop a master plan” for crypto in the state.

Crypto in the Lone Star state

Other Texas politicians have joined in on the crypto hype. 

Rep. Pete Sessions, a 12-term Republican congressman from Waco, Texas, said last month on Twitter that, “Bitcoin is aligned with American values and will strengthen the dollar.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been adamant in criticizing last year’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and sought to prohibit the Federal Reserve from issuing a central bank digital currency

Private and public crypto mining companies have heeded the call. 

Bitcoin miner CleanSpark is adding 500 MW to its Houston facility. And Riot Blockchain (RIOT) has been working to up the capacity of its facility at Whinstone Inc., the result of a $650 million deal.

Geosyn Mining just launched a new Bitcoin mining facility—a smaller version of the 20,000-square-foot one it runs outside the city—in downtown Fort Worth. 

Even the city’s zoo has embraced crypto. 

“Donating cryptocurrency is a non-taxable event,” the Fort Worth Zoo writes on its website, “meaning you do not owe capital gains tax on the appreciated among and can deduct it on your taxes.”

The website goes on to say that donors should consult with their own accountants and tax professionals.

But it’s not been smooth sailing for every crypto company in Texas. 

The state’s securities regulator has been critical of crypto lending platforms Celsius and BlockFi for being unlicensed money service businesses and failing to disclose risks to customers. Like New Jersey, the Texas State Securities Board issued a cease and desist order for the two companies to stop offering new accounts to state residents.

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