Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Tue Apr 12 17:35:23 EDT 2011

> -----Original Message-----
> On Tue, Apr 12, 2011 at 04:00:14PM -0400, Owen DeLong wrote:
> > In a market where higher prices lead to greater production,
> > speculation brings liquidity. In a market where increased production
> > is not possible, speculation leads to higher prices and increases
> > the probability of market manipulation.
> Who knows, in our context "production" might be interpreted as
> increasing the rate of adoption of IPv6. Certainly if IPv4 addresses
> were to become prohibitively expensive, IPv6 will look a lot more
> attractive. Food for thought.
Exactly. Address trading of v4 blocks would start to reflect the true scarcity value of the addresses, as well as operators' judgments about the time horizon of their value. And that could help surmount the migration hump by putting a lot of adjustments into motion.  

There is a weird schizophrenia in RIR list discussions of this problem which reveals that many people haven't thought this through very carefully. On the one hand, you get comments like this: 

"Who cares, IPV4 is dead --" 

Interspersed with comments suggesting that:

"Hoarding of IPv4 addresses by speculators will drive up prices to levels that will [pick one] i) destroy the internet ii) force us all into the arms of a merged AT&VZ; iii) be really, really bad

Is it just me, or is it not possible for both of those sentiments to be valid? 

If IPv4 is really dead, it doesn't matter at all how we handle the trading or need for v4 blocks. Indeed, you should support hoarding and speculation because the hoarders and speculators will be defeated and lose their shirts. 

If the "IPv4 is dead" meme is wrong (and I think it is _dead_ wrong) then it matters a lot how we handle trading policy. We have to define policies that adjust to the growing scarcity in the most efficient and socially beneficial way. Reiterating 1996-era best practices as if they were religious principles doesn't help. 

More information about the ARIN-PPML mailing list