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Utah authorities discover mysterious crypto-linked antennas in the mountains; Searching for owners

Utah authorities discover mysterious crypto-linked antennas in the mountains; Searching for owners

Authorities in Utah are seeking to unravel the mystery behind antennas that have been cropping on the foothills within the Salt Lake City area. Notably, there is insufficient information on the individual or group behind the ownership and installation of the antennas. 

According to Salt Lake’s recreational trails manager Tyler Fonarow, the antennas first appeared over a year ago, but installations have accelerated in recent months, KSLTV 5 reported on January 4. 

In this line, city officials have been hiking the snowy trails to remove the antennas that consist of a locked battery box, a router, and a solar panel.

Some antennas have since been removed, with more expected to be seized in the coming weeks, even as authorities identify the terrain as a possible barrier inhibiting the removal process.  Some of the antennas were discovered on property run by the Forest Service and the University of Utah.

Initial investigations indicate that the antennas might be relaying data to a broader area, with authorities calling on owners to come forward. 

“These towers have been bolted into different peaks and summits and ridges around the foothills, and it started with one or two, and now it might be as much as a dozen. <…> We just don’t leave things on public lands anymore. You have to ask for permission,” Fonorow said. 

Based on the composition of the antennas, there is speculation that they belong to a decentralized blockchain network. 

Specifically, it’s suspected that the antennas are a possible hotspot connecting to the Helium network. Notably, Helium is a wireless blockchain-based system with an incentive business model that enables customers to establish hotspots that act as Helium miners while offering internet connectivity.

Through the process, customers are only required to purchase the hotspot, install and earn money by minting the network’s native token, HNT. Additionally, based on the mystery surrounding the antennas, a section of social media alleged that they belong to off-grid Helium miners.

In a tweet on January 6, KSLTV 5 reporter Michael Locklear shared a close-up image of the retrieved antenna.

Interestingly, commenting on the post, some users alleged that the shared devices are designed for mining HNT. 

A screenshot of user comments on Utah’s mysterious antennas. Source: Twitter

In the meantime, there is no official communication that the antennas belong to the Helium network.

Featured image via Michael Locklear Twitter

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