Bitcoin mining devices could put you in jail.
In a first, the Federal Communications Commission has ordered the shutdown of a bitcoin mining device which was causing interference in the 700MHz LTE network for T-Mobile in Brooklyn, New York.
According to the FCC, the Antminer S5 bitcoin miner caused “harmful interference” by generating “spurious emissions” on T-Mobile’s broadband network. The agency said the interference stopped after the device was switched off. (See also: How Does Bitcoin Mining Work?)
Victor Rosario, the device’s owner, was warned in an official notice that continued operation of the device could subject “the operator to severe penalties, including, but not limited to, substantial monetary fines, in rem arrest action to seize the offending radio equipment, and criminal sanctions including imprisonment.” Rosario has 20 days to respond to the notice. (See also: Who Is Jihan Wu And Does He Basically Control Bitcoin Today?)
Manufactured by Bitmain, the Antminer S5 was first launched in 2014. Because the device is still with Rosario, the FCC is unable to determine the cause of interference. In its notice, the agency clarified that it not “suggest or find that all Antminer S5 devices are noncompliant."
The agency wrote: "Although we are aware that even compliant devices can be modified in a manner that creates harmful interference, we make no finding as to whether this particular device conforms to its original manufacturer’s specifications."
According to this forum, it is possible to change frequency settings for the Antminer series in order to speed up the hardware. But the frequency referenced in the discussion is clock speed and not radio frequency.
The FCC has already asked Rosario to provide the following information on the device: Manufacturer, Model, Serial Number, and if there is any FCC labeling identification.
Investing in cryptocurrencies and other Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or other ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns small amounts of bitcoin.