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In November last year, RIPE NCC disclosed that it used up its IPv4 addresses. This disclosure of the regional internet registry (RIR) garnered much attention, but the addresses have been scarce for close to 10 years now. The IPv4 address depletion now puts pressure on the organizations that lack the 32-bit resources to properly expand their networks. Internet service providers are among the organizations, which do not have sufficient IPv4 addresses.

Even after all these years, IPv6 has not become not the dominant internet protocol. The event of businesses continuing to use IPv4 over a long period is expected to affect not just private networks but also the global internet.

The Issue Regarding Trading

In the event of the IPv4 address scarcity, the first reaction of several internet providers is to look to purchase these from some other entity. Since about 2012, a secondary IPv4 market has been facilitating the movement of millions of unutilized addresses to entities that require these. It is just a temporary way to deal with the address scarcity.

There exist numerous addresses, and it seems that the bulk of the stock has already been traded. Consequently, the rate per address is increasing steadily. Several entities cannot afford to purchase the resources, particularly businesses situated in low-income nations, and small start-ups.

IPv4 once becoming an expensive resource has caught the eye of fraudulent parties, who were fast to notice a fresh way of monetizing. Six years ago, the aforementioned RIR first found an illegal seizure of an entity’s IPv4 addresses. In the last two years, it looked into numerous fraudulent practices. In most situations, an entity would purchase IPv4 addresses without knowing that these were stolen. In the event of making the purchase, and the deception being found, it could not have access to the resources. So, a newcomer to the secondary market must know who they are buying from.

One must also understand that the IPv4 resources being traded will have already been utilized. If the previous use situation involved any spam or some other network abuse, then the addresses would possibly be blacklisted. This will make any other party routing the addresses an unlikely event. Geolocation problems commonly occur in the case of recently traded addresses, particularly when the transaction involved a purchaser from another nation. This means an internet provider’s subscribers could just default to sites serving people in different regions when these connect through newly obtained IPv4 addresses.

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