Recently, I had a conversation with someone whom I would classify as an IPv4 market opponent while I was at the African Network Information Center (AFRINIC) in Nairobi. It was a useful conversation for me, and hopefully for him as well.
Taking a cue from everything I’ve read about productive dialogue, I asked him about his concerns and we proceeded from there. His principal concern was that the presence of brokers in the IPv4 market would cause IPv4 pricing to be higher than it would without the brokers. This is an easy conclusion to reach if you look at the prices that the buyer pays, the proceeds that the seller receives, and the commission that the broker earns in the process. Remove the broker commission and there is room for both buyer and seller to improve their outcomes. A larger concern was the existence of a market at all, when Registries already had a mechanism to deal with the allocation of scarce resources that wasn’t purely price. Totally understandable points of view, but it overlooks a few other things that brokers do, which actually improve market outcomes.
But I suspected there was more to his concern, so I asked a probing question: What if you’re right, and brokers cause prices to be higher than they would otherwise be? Isn’t IPv4 an old technology at this point? It’s been declared “historic” by the IETF. Who cares if the prices are high?
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