Market-based address allocation

If someone can figure out how to get the ISPs of the world to
participate in a routing prefix market, then it might be worth
revisiting this idea. Note that there is nothing stopping establishing
a routing prefix market now, so it could be done prior to changing
address allocation policies.

Selling IP addresses clearly is a bad thing. But selling the right to use
a block of n IP addresses could be workable. All the right-to-use
certificates would need to be registered with an RIR to validate them in
the same way that land ownership is registered in a land registry office.

When you connect to the Internet, you buy a right-to-use cert for whatever
you need/want. Present this to your ISP and they assign you a block of the
size that you bought. If they need more addresses, they simply present a
list of customer certs to the RIR and their allocation is expanded. If a 3
month buffer isn't enough, then the ISP pays for a 6 month buffer.

The advantage to all of this is that it no longer assumes that everyone is
following more-or-less the same business model. In the early days of the
net, most people *WERE* following roughly similar business models. But
today there is a lot more variety and that variety appears to be

The whole IP address allocation system is creaky and old-fashioned and out
of touch with the times. It needs to change and become simpler, more
flexible and easier for outsiders to understand. But, on the other hand,
with IPv6 looming which changes the playing field perhaps there is room
for some fresh approaches.

I think that a workable idea would be for a consortium of tier one
providers to set a price on global routing table slots. The price would be
sufficient to fund an organization to collect route info (like routeviews)
and to periodically adjust the prices (yearly) with money left over to
fund some research (like Bellcore?). Members of the consortium would pay
for the number of routes they announce to other consortium members. The
members would also collect money for routes from any peers who are not in
the consortium. When an organization connects to the Internet, they must
decide between free fate sharing with their ISP or paying for a route in
the global routing table. This consortium really should be under the
auspices of IANA, ARIN and the other RIRs but it may be necessary to start
it independently first.

There really should be no antitrust issues here as long as all consortium
activity is done publicly and the prices are set in such a way that the
global routing table can continue to grow but does not grow faster that
technical capabilities and deployment. If this could work today then it
can continue to work with IPv6 and any conceivable future networking

--Michael Dillon

All the right-to-use
certificates would need to be registered with an RIR to validate them in
the same way that land ownership is registered in a land registry office.

Fast forward to 2013: Will we have something akin to title insurance (and
logically title searches) for address space? I hope ARIN's historic records
are better than those in the domain space.

Is the long-term liquidity introduced by ipv6 going to affect the
Legacy assets are more often valued at a premium: Manhattan, IP Swamp space,
.com domains, low-value ICQ and apparently even 4-digit ASn. Will IPv4
be valued at a premium over IPv6 space?

Sure it's 'just an integer', but it is an exclusive right-to-use some
agreed identity and that _has_ value. Intangible assets have values placed
them all the time.

I wonder what/how PT Barnum would do...