The idea is to have an RF backup in the event of cyberattacks on bitcoin transactions over the internet. There's just one problem: in the US (and most likely in Canada as well), using ham radio to complete financial transactions is blatantly illegal. FCC rules define amateur radio as a "noncommercial radio service" used by "duly authorized persons … solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest," and section 97.113 of the rules specifically prohibit "(c)ommunications in which the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest…"
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Can They DO That? (Well, not legally…)
From the "hey, wait a minute" department comes this report from CoinDesk, an online media outlet covering the virtual currency industry. According to the March 4 report, two bitcoin developers who also hold ham licenses successfully transmitted a bitcoin lightning payment via amateur radio. The payment was sent to developer and Bloomberg columnist Elaine Ou, KM6NCF, in California by Rodolfo Novak, VE3NAK, co-founder of CoinKite, a bitcoin hardware startup, in Ontario. After successfully receiving the payment, Ou reportedly tweeted that "Bitcoin is making ham radio cool again!"