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Becoming a crypto capital: Austin commits to fostering blockchain environment

(Pexels)

Austin City Council passed two resolutions Thursday that call on the city manager to study the adoption and use of crypto by the city and foster the local Web3 and blockchain environment.


During public comment, multiple people spoke against and in support of the resolutions put forth by Mayor Steve Adler and Council Member Mackenzie Kelly.

Groups like ATX DAO shared excitement on council’s actions, sharing an optimistic outlook for what crypto could be used for, like serving unhoused people. They also noted some caution over the volatility of crypto.

“We ask city council and the city manager not be taken by the excitement of the industry and the blockchain technology and rush into different projects that may not be beneficial for the city at the end of the day,” Sam Padilla, a member of the DAO said.

Others like the Austin Justice Coalition opposed it, backing statements from others that there are bigger priorities for the city to focus on.

During a Tuesday work session, some city council members expressed hesitancy. Council Member Kathie Tovo called for the study of energy consumption and environmental impacts brought by the technology.

Researchers have found Bitcoin consumes more than 121 terawatt-hours a year and some Central Texas Bitcoin miners halted major energy use earlier this year amid concerns of grid stability during winter storms.

Mayor Pro Tem Alison Alter also noted there’s some basic technology they haven’t mastered like electronic timesheets.

“I do worry about us going too far into blockchain and these fancy things when we have some real basic technology challenges that we need to be focusing our energy on,” Alter said.

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