February 15, 2018 / 11:22 PM / 9 months ago

U.S. probe finds bitcoin mining operation interfered with broadband network

Representation of the Bitcoin virtual currency standing on the PC motherboard is seen in this illustration picture, February 3, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Communications Commission said on Thursday an investigation had found that a Brooklyn bitcoin mining operation interfered with T-Mobile US Inc’s (TMUS.O) broadband network.

The company had complained about interference to its 700 MHz LTE network in Brooklyn from radio emissions it said were coming from a Brooklyn residence mining for the cryptocurrency - verifying bitcoin transactions.

The FCC said its investigation determined the user was “generating spurious emissions on frequencies assigned to T-Mobile’s broadband network and causing harmful interference.”

The agency’s enforcement bureau said in a letter dated Thursday that continued use of an operation known as “Antminer s5 Bitcoin Miner” would constitute a violation of federal law and could result in fines, criminal prosecution or seizure of the equipment.

T Mobile did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said in a tweet the “letter has it all: #bitcoin mining, computing power needed for #blockchain computation and #wireless #broadband interference. It all seems so very 2018.”

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Susan Thomas

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