Second-hand IPv4 address market is booming amid growing demand and declining supply
After American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), a non-profit organisation administering IP addresses in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean, had their free supply of IPv4 addresses completely depleted in 2015, a second-hand IP address market was propelled into existence. Four years later, the prices of IPv4 addresses are reaching unseen heights and showing no signs of slowing down.
Nearly 45 million IPv4 addresses changed hands in 2018, the highest number since the inception of the market in 2015. With supplies in ARIN (America), RIPE (Europe), and APNIC (Asia Pacific) registries exhausted and other regional registries also running low, 2019 seems to be positioned to outperform 2018 in terms of number of IPs changing owners. It is not only the number of IPv4s sold that is on a steady climb – the price per one address is also on the rise.
The average price of an IPv4 address in 2018 was around 17 dollars, an enormous number when compared to the average of just around 6 dollars per address in 2015. Vincentas Grinius, CEO of Heficed, an IP address-centric company offering IP address, cloud and dedicated server solutions, commented on pricing in the IPv4 market:
“The price of a single IP address is reaching new heights. Even though the average price in 2018 was already high compared to the previous years, it certainly hasn’t peaked yet. Field experts and RIRs I have been talking to predict that one IPv4 address might be sold for as much as 35 dollars in the future.”
Although the depletion of IPv4s in the regional registries plays a key role in these developments, other factors should also be taken into account. With the evolution of companies working in the business intelligence, cybersecurity and privacy sectors, there is and will be a constant need for a steady supply of IPv4 addresses. The market for IPv4 is mostly scattered throughout various IP brokers, making the process of buying, selling or leasing an address into a hassle for businesses in need:
“According to the latest data, there are more than 800 million of IPv4 addresses that were never used. With RIRs being out of IPv4 addresses and several providers owning yet not employing them, there is a need for a transparent LIR2LIR platform where IP owners could easily monetize their unused IP resources,” added Vincentas Grinius.
While the all-encompassing migration to IPv6 is still pending, the market of IPv4 addresses shows no signs of cooling off. Growing demand, paired with dwindling supply, creates opportunities for IP address brokers, owners, and forward-looking IP address-related platform developers.
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