[arin-ppml] IPv4 Transfer policies - questions, definitions, thoughts, suggestions
briand at ca.afilias.info
Sun Jun 8 17:52:53 EDT 2008
I've been giving thought to the general area of IPv4 transfers-for-money.
I thought I'd share some observations I've come up with, as well as
questions, suggestions, and definitions which might help with coming to
a consensus on major issues.
If we can collectively work out the big things, quite possibly the small
things will become moot and/or work themselves out.
That said, here's what I have come up with so far...
I apologize for this being a bit long. I'll try to be brief where
possible, and/or follow up on my own posting in separate threads.
First, an observation: IPv4 Internet addresses (as in, used on the
"public Internet") are finite.
This means that any policies that don't address this or aren't
compatible with a "zero sum game", may be fatally flawed because they
are open to abuse.
Second, a suggestion: any policy framework devised in any RIR region, or
globally (IANA), should create an implicit bias towards those actually
using IPv4 space, and against any participation by non-users (e.g.
The reason for this is, what I think the obvious answer to the following
"Would the existence of speculators, who purchase IPv4 address space
largely or solely for the purpose of profiting from the (re)sale of IPv4
address space, harm the 'IPv4 community' (those who actually use IPv4
I believe the answer to this question is "Yes.".
I think the simplest corollary to the answer "yes" should be, that any
policy regarding transfer of IPv4 space, should inherently discourage
speculation. Rather than doing so by defining bad behavior, create a set
of rules where there is no ability to benefit except indirectly, by
acquiring IPv4 space that is needed and using it to operate one's own
Here's a suggestion on how this could be framed:
Apply the three laws of thermodynamics ("You can't win; You can't break
even; You can't quit the game") to transfers:
(1) You can't win: No resale of IPv4 space for net profit on a per-unit
basis. (This would include buying block A and selling block B, perhaps
with some special case exclusions where actual aggregation is the net
side-effect of the purchase and sale.)
(2) You can't break even: On an aggregate basis, any organizations
transactions in IPv4 transfers must be a net increase in IPv4 space. The
one exception would be the sale of previously assigned (but not
purchased) space by an RSA or LRSA signatory.
(3) You can't quit the game: If, for any reason, an entity to whom IPv4
space is registered, stops announcing that space on a permanent basis
(e.g. because they have ceased operations, such as under a bankruptcy
situation), then that address space may be reclaimed by
(ARIN/IANA/RIR/whoever assigned it). This may be for consideration, but
not for a net profit to the registrant, .e.g pro-rata or full refund at
original price of purchase.
I'm not suggesting that these suggestions are enough to form a complete
policy, or even that they will be workable.
However, I would encourage thinking about the issue of how to make it
impossible for anyone, participant or non-participant, to abuse the
transfer policy for profit, in as simple a way as possible.
For example, the rules above, still leave open the issues of who
operates, monitors, etc., the market itself, without placing any
significant restrictions on how those can be resolved.
On the other hand, if the rules prevent anyone from profiting on resale,
speculators will not participate at all, I would suggest.
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