FCC going after Bitcoin miner for causing interference on T-Mobile

You know how sites and applications can tamper with your processor to help their owners mine for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin? Well, there are dedicated processors that use up lots of power to mine them, too. And if they are powerful enough, they’ll cause interference on certain local networks.

In an enforcement action filed by the New York branch of the FCC, we find that a Brooklyn-based owner of an Antminer s5 Bitcoin Miner is being pursued for violations against what are known as Part 15 rules regarding interference — in this case, the processor has generated disturbance in the 700MHz band where T-Mobile operates in Sheepshead Bay. VoLTE calls were apparently filled with static.

The commission has prompted the miner to answer several questions about future use of the device and where its was obtained within the next 20 days. Consequences for breaching this rule can include fines, confiscation of equipment and even imprisonment. It sounds like, though, that the commission isn’t too interested in having to do any of that if it can make sure that the Antminer S5 doesn’t cause interference in the first place.

For reference, according to Buy Bitcoin Worldwide, the Bitmain Antminer S5 is considered to be a starter or hobbyist model, can run on a computer’s power supply, but is generally unprofitable to run when hardware and electricity costs come in. It’s noted that the device could be subject to experimenting with overclocking and immersion cooling, though.

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About The Author
Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.