FCC threatened to seize hardware and arrest a bitcoin miner

FCC Threatens Arrest, Hardware Seizure of Bitcoin Miner for Causing Harmful Interference

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently revealed that a piece of popular bitcoin mining hardware was interfering with the internet connections of Brooklyn residents. The organization decided to take action. In a notice, it threatened to arrest the bitcoin miner and seize his hardware.

Telecom giant T-Mobile had complained to the FCC about interference to its 700 MHz LTE network in Brooklyn, being caused by radio emissions. The FCC’s investigation used detection-finding devices to locate the offending equipment, an Antminer S5.

Per the FCC, the piece of hardware was generating “spurious emissions on frequencies assigned to T-Mobile’s broadband network”. These, in turn, caused “harmful interferences”. As such, the agency’s enforcement bureau made things clear to the Bitcoin miner.

David Dombrowsky, of the FCC’s enforcement bureau, wrote:

“Continued operation of this device that causes harmful interference after your receipt of this warning constitutes a violation of the Federal laws cited above and could subject the operator to severe penalties, including, but not limited to, substantial monetary fines, in rem arrest action to seize the offending radio.”

The Bitcoin miner was given 20 days to reply to the FCC’s notice. In the reply, the miner needs to provide a receipt and information on the device’s purchase, reveal the steps it intends to take to solve the issue, and provide additional information on the Antminer.

On Twitter, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the case “seems so very 2018” because of what it involves.

Bitcoin miner using outdated hardware

Notably, the Antminer S5 is now a somewhat old piece of hardware. It is unknown if newer bitcoin mining hardware has the same problem, or if the Antminer S5 used in this case was in any way altered.

Bitmain released their Antminer S5 back in 2014. At the time, it was one of the fastest and most efficient ASIC miners available on the market, but it has since been surpassed. At press time, Bitmain’s most advanced bitcoin mining hardware is the Antminer S9.

As covered by Core Media, even South Korean tech giant Samsung is looking to get in on the crypto mining business. According to reports, the company is set to start manufacturing ASIC chips designed for cryptocurrency mining.