[arin-ppml] An article of interest to the community....

Paul Vixie paul at redbarn.org
Mon Aug 29 19:04:35 EDT 2011

On Mon, 29 Aug 2011 11:19:56 -0400
"Mike Burns" <mike at nationwideinc.com> wrote:

> http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/08/the-case-for-a-free-market-in-ipv4-addresses.ars

since this article referred to my recent op-ed piece in acm queue...


...i've replied there as follows:

I think you've misunderstood ARIN's position. ARIN has a designated
transfer policy which allows for private trading in IPv4 number
resources. Potential sellers and buyers (and even brokers) can register
with ARIN to use our listing service, or they can meet up by way of
e-Bay. When it's time to consummate a transaction and register the
resources under the buyer's name, ARIN has a process for that. We did
this to ensure that IPv4 number resources would be maximally utilized
and so that the Whois records would remain accurate -- because this is
what the ARIN community decided via the public policy process. Some
have criticized ARIN's transfer policy because it requires that the
buyer demonstrate a short term need for the number resources they are
receiving, but the ARIN community chose to prevent its transfer policy
being used for hoarding and speculation so those complains might be
coming from potential hoarders and speculators.

Of greater interest to me is the question: "and then what?" That is,
let's imagine that ARIN's transfer policy becomes widely used and all
IPv4 number resources reach what the economists call their "highest and
best use". Would we simply stop growing the internet at that point? Or
would the value of these number resources continue to increase, with
people who can renumber into NAT clouds gradually and forever doing
that in order to free up address space for those whose network growth
is not compatible with NAT? To me that's an unattractive future because
we'll all be spending out time and energy learning how to traverse
multilayer NAT. So to me the need for a global transition to IPv6
remains inevitable no matter what happens in the IPv4 number resources
market. IPv4 is just too small no matter how efficiently the world
learns to use it. Perhaps some investors (and perhaps some speculators)
would be well served by lengthening the lifetime of IPv4 by a few more
years, but the bigger the IPv4 network gets the harder it will be to
pull it through the knothole of the IPv6 transition.

In summary, ARIN has a transfer policy and ARIN stands ready to record
the results of private party transactions in IPv4 numbering resources.
But the real game in the long run is deploying IPv6, not adding a few
years of life or a lot of layers of NAT to the IPv4 network. 
Paul Vixie

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