[arin-ppml] Accusation of fundamental conflict ofinterest/IPaddress policy pitched directly to ICANN

Ray Hunter v6ops at globis.net
Mon May 2 14:53:52 EDT 2011

No one owns the addresses today. They're just 32 bit numbers. That's 
all. Nothing more. Nothing less. No one ever owned the addresses. They 
have zero intrinsic value.

The only reason they are perceived as having any value today is the fact 
that several million Internet users all around the globe have consented 
to respect ICANN (and in turn the RIRs) coordination of IPv4 address 
allocation in order to make those 32 bit numbers globally unique, and we 
can't manufacture any more numbers.

As I stated, today's Internet is consensus-based. I repeat the word 
"consensus." Should I say that again? Maybe not. I think you get the 
idea though. China Telecom and China Mobile accept the authority of 
ICANN, just like everyone else. They have by far the biggest user base, 
and yet they also have the smallest allocations (relatively speaking). 
Likewise, not for profit, educational institutions, and governments also 
respect the authority of ICANN.

If you or anyone else would like to start up a private commercial IPv4 
registry to register IPv4 addresses that are globally unique for 
connection to a Global Private Commercial IPv4 Internet, I don't think 
anyone will stop you. They may even encourage it to take the pressure 
off the Public Internet.

One simple reality is that some regions and countries have far higher 
allocation rates of IPv4 addresses per head of population than others.

The US has 41% of current IPv4 address allocations = 5.5 addresses per 
head of population.
See http://www.bgpexpert.com/addressespercountry.php for details.

There are going to be an awful lot of people crying "foul," especially 
if this market mechanism is only applied internally at ARIN level (which 
relatively speaking has the highest allocation rate per head of 
population in the World). Where's their fair share?

I therefore find it highly unlikely that you, or I, or anyone else, will 
ever ever gain consensus from the majority of current IPv4 Internet 
users that in order to remain connected to the Public Internet, or to 
grow their user base, they have to participate in a commercial market to 
obtain the right to be allocated an IPv4 address (whilst most users in 
some countries have already been allocated one or more "for free" on an 
"as-needed" basis).

Any attempt to impose a commercial market on IPv4 addresses will very 
likely result in the destruction of the general consensus that made the 
Public Internet possible, and thus risk fragmentation or even 
destruction of the Public Internet. In other words, attempting to 
extract any monetary value from the scarcity of the IPv4 address space 
is likely going to completely destroy the value of the Public IPv4 
Internet, without ensuring any (smooth) transition to a single global 
Public IPv6 Internet.

As for the discussion on a (financial) incentive to move to IPv6:

Seven alternatives straight off the top of my head that would achieve a 
similar effect of adding a strong incentive to migrate to IPv6 would be:
1) adopting an open market for IPv4 addresses
2) CGN. It's going to be so awful that it will become the IPv6 killer app.
3) The US Federal government mandates it. If you want to do business 
with them then you're going to comply. This is also already true in 
India and China too.
4) Ask Ben Bernanke to divert a small amount of money from the various 
Federal Reserve's Open Market Operations schemes to buy up any IPv4 
addresses that hit the market to create artificial scarcity and drive up 
5) The IETF could deprecate RFC 791 and move it to historic status.
6) Allocate the last few IPv4 unallocated addresses and declare "game over"
7) Ask ARIN to prevent any and all transfers that are motivated purely 
by financial gain, and instead insist that such participants return IPv4 
allocations to the unallocated pool "for their benefit of the Internet 
Community" once the existing allocation is no longer needed.

IMVHO 7) would be consistent with the historical policies of "allocation 
on an as-needed basis" and would not require any significant change to 

I'm not attempting to influence the decision of the ARIN community in 
any one particular direction, but the "free marketeers" certainly do not 
have a monopoly on ideas, and I personally doubt whether a market based 
approach is any more practical than the alternatives, no matter how 
crazy they sound.


Mike Burns wrote:
> >The point being that globally unique IPv4 addresses will only have 
> value to a corporation whilst the majority of their target customers 
> continue to use them as on today's consensus-based Internet.
> >If all of your customers have migrated to IPv6, they're worthless
> >If the IPv4 Internet has fragmented, they're worthless.
> >Is it 100% clear to everyone who actually "owns" all of the current 
> IPv4 address allocations today?
> >Also, the future of the Internet is clearly mobile. There are already 
> about as many mobile Internet users in China as there are people in 
> the US, if not more. Same story in India. Even in the US, there simply 
> won't be >enough IPv4 addresses to cover a mass move to mobile devices 
> no matter how much you're prepared to pay for them.
> >So assuming that any semblance of an efficient market in globally 
> unique IPv4 numbers can be created now is IMHO highly questionable.
> >Ray Hunter
> Hi Ray,
> I'm sorry but I don't see how the prior statements lead to the 
> conclusion that an efficient market in globally unique IPv4 numbers 
> can not now be created.
> Is it because there is confusion over who actually "owns" the current 
> IPv4 allocations today?
> Because that goes right to the issues with whois veracity that I think 
> will be improved with competing registries, and is likely to improve 
> anyway, as IP address values are understood and claims are made.
> Yes, IPv4 addresses only have value if customers use them on the 
> Internet. Yes, if all customers migrate to IPv6, they are worthless, 
> and yes, if the IPv4 is fragmented to the point of non-usability, they 
> are worthless.
> Yes, there will be continued demand for addresses that will be larger 
> than can be accomodated if by the IPv4 pool, if the Internet retains 
> it's current single-level NAT architecture.
> But I don't see how the conclusion that a viable market cannot be 
> created follows from your statements, though.Some  have posted that 
> the market will provide incentive to transition that is otherwise 
> lacking, a problem described way back by a prescient John Curran over 
> 15 years ago.
> http://www.armware.dk/RFC/rfc/rfc1669.html
> Certainly you have elucidated risks to those who participate in those 
> markets, but those risks will presumably be known to participants, and 
> presumably were known to Microsoft before they paid $7.5 million.
> Regards,
> Mike Burns

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