[ppml] In$entive$

Owen DeLong owen at delong.com
Thu Mar 22 11:06:10 EDT 2007

The RIRs cannot, do not, and will not police it.  There is no police  
here, at least not at the RIR level or the address assignment/ 

The RIRs provide a very specific service. They guarantee that whatever
numbers they issue to you will not be issued to anyone else by them or
by any other RIR.  They don't guarantee anyone will route those numbers
for you.  They don't guarantee you that no one else will use those  
in their router.  They don't promise you that there is no competing
parallel address registry.

For the RIRs, there's nothing to police other than their own
allocation/assignment practices.

Now, if you want to talk about how those numbers are used, that's
a different story, and, the RIRs are actually not involved.  That falls
to the ISPs and other peers a given entity may wish to exchange routes

Until now, the generally connected internets (the semi-contiguous
collection of networks speaking IPv4 protocol which, generally provide
for the ability of a packet to get from nearly any point A to nearly any
point B within the collection (firewalls, policy, etc. notwithstanding))
have functioned because there is general agreement that addresses
delegated by RIRs (or applicable subordinate delegation) are
legitimate whereas numbers presented by an organization which
cannot trace their delegation back to an RIR are considered not
legitimate.  It is my sincere hope that this model will continue to
function for the foreseeable future.

If a day comes when a significant portion of the generally connected
internets choose not to follow this policy, then the face of IP  
will change dramatically and in an manner I cannot predict. I do not
believe it would be a beneficial change.

I guess the key point I'm trying to make here is that there is no  
asset or value in a number.  The value comes in the willingness of
others to consider that number uniquely delegated to a given
organization.  It's very hard for me to imagine a way in which you
can barter/trade/sell other people's willingness to do so, absent some
form of generally agreed upon marketplace for the trade of such

Since there is significant opposition to the idea of an address
commodity market by a substantial portion of the people actually
in charge of the routers that would be affected by such an idea,
I don't think that the scenarios of black-market address trading
are likely to actually prove useful in significant measure.

I'm not saying it doesn't happen now or won't happen in the
future, just that it is hard for me to picture a world in which such
a market controls a significant portion of the address space
in the absence of a major attitude/policy shift in the network
operations community.

As such, I don't believe that IPv4 free-space exhaustion requires
any substantive change in RIR policy or conduct.  I don't believe
that RIRs should start trying to extract addresses from address
holders by force.  I certainly don't believe that arbitrarily pricing
address registrations in such a way to force smaller players
out of the market in favor of larger ones is a good idea. Finally,
I don't believe that an address market will succeed, nor do I
believe that if such a thing were adopted that it would be a
good thing for the stability of the internet.


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