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This article was published on February 16, 2018

FCC threatens arrest, hardware seizure for those using popular bitcoin miner

FCC threatens arrest, hardware seizure for those using popular bitcoin miner
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

After determining a popular piece of bitcoin mining hardware was interfering with local internet connections, the Federal Communications Commission today took action.

T-Mobile first complained to the FCC about interference to its LTE network in Brooklyn, stating radio emissions coming from a local residence were wreaking havoc on its broadband network.

After an investigation, the culprit was determined to be a local bitcoin mining operation. The miners relied on a piece of hardware known as Antminer s5, which “[generated] spurious emissions on frequencies assigned to T-Mobile’s broadband network [which caused] harmful interference,” according to FCC representatives.

The agency’s enforcement bureau said continued use of Antminer s4 — or, presumably others that interfered with the same 700 MHz frequency — would be subject to fines, criminal prosecution or seizure of the equipment.

The Antminer s5, however, is a few generations old at this point. It’s unclear whether more recent hardware causes the same interference.