Austin to Become New U.S. Crypto Mining Hub - Officials Approve
Austin, Texas, the state capital, may become the new center for blockchain and digital assets. This will happen if the city officials will introduce two resolutions dedicated to the innovative technology.
Earlier, several American cities have already tried becoming No. 1 in the field of cryptocurrencies. For example, last year Miami (Florida) considered the concept of CityCoins and adopted the city currency MiamiCoin. It is used in various city and public events.
New York is also trying to keep up, positioning itself as a city as open as possible to new ideas. There is an extensive list of educational initiatives, and recently elected Mayor Eric Adams has agreed to be paid in bitcoins.
Austin gains ground
Interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies has been growing in Austin for several years, especially after the "Great Exodus of Miners From China". Texas Governor Greg Abbott spoke out a year ago in favor of a new cryptocurrency law that would increase the state's investment potential and help develop city services.
On March 9, 2022, Austin City Councilmember Mackenzie Kelly launched an initiative to explore the potential use of cryptocurrency in the region. Specifically, the city manager has been tasked with exploring how the city could use bitcoin and other assets for transactions.
It is more about economic and technical feasibility, that is, which city services can be paid with cryptocurrency, whether it is necessary to install crypto ATMs, the introduction of improved security measures, etc.
Kelly noted that Austin has always been considered one of the most advanced cities in Texas, many cryptocurrency investors now live here, and Mayor Steve Adler co-sponsored another resolution. Immersion cooling of mining equipment is also being actively implemented here, allowing cryptocurrency to be mined more efficiently.
Do citizens even care?
Kelly thinks citizens would benefit from an alternative in the form of cryptocurrency. Let's say someone gets a speeding ticket but can't use their bank account. Then he makes a transfer in cryptocurrency or, say, makes a donation, pays a local tax or electricity bill. The person should be offered several options so he can choose the best one for himself.
Finder.com research shows that 8% of Texans own bitcoins. By the end of the year, that number may reach 14-15%. Austin also ranks first among all cities in the state when searching for "bitcoin" and "crypto".
Kelly-Adler's resolutions were quickly approved at the March 24 City Council meeting. However, the next step will be delayed until mid-June, when the city manager submits his final report. Blockchain research, we note, has been underway in Austin for four years. The important part is to ensure users have access to all their records.
It`s interesting to read: How Shipping Containers Change the Cryptocurrency Mining Industry
The resolutions were seen as groundbreaking by most council members, but there were objections as well. Leslie Pool, one of the council members, pointed out that the biggest problem with blockchain is the lack of a central authority. She acknowledged that the network and protocol are secure from unauthorized access, but the benefits of the system end there. After all, it's basically just a "digital book," and you have to hear from technology experts before introducing it to the city..
Leslie Pool is also skeptical about cryptocurrency. In her opinion, digital assets are too unstable, so she wouldn't want to risk taxpayer dollars. It is unprotected and unregulated by anyone and increased interest in mining can affect the region's energy security. This is like gambling, incompatible with the municipality's concern for its financial obligations to its citizens.
And yet the introduction of cryptocurrency in Austin should happen
However, Austin residents are supportive of the administration's initiatives in general. Jesse Paterson, chair of the education committee at ATX DAO, said his organization is already working on the benefits for the community. He and his colleagues have also attended town hall meetings and share the caution of some council members, but feel the shift to cryptocurrency is inevitable.
Other team members believe Austin is open for business and encourages innovation. In addition to cryptocurrencies, projects using elements of Web3, NFT and innovative systems to reuse the heat generated by mining equipment are being developed here. In particular, Austin Mayor Steve Adler's support plays a big role in these efforts.
The first step could be the adoption of the city's own CityCoin. A test project would allow a better understanding of digital coins by both the administration and ordinary citizens. The transition could begin as early as the summer of 2022, after a positive evaluation of cryptocurrency adoption. All of this is encouraging, both in terms of broader adoption of cryptocurrency by a single city/state and by the country/world as a whole.