Public IP Leasing: Revolutionizing the Value of IPv4 Addresses  

3 min read
7 May 2024
Vincentas Grinius

IP lease is being recognized as an alternative business model. This step forward will foster corporate growth and financial stability.

In an unprecedented financial maneuver, Cogent Communications Holdings, Inc. is set to transform the digital landscape by offering approximately $206 million in secured IPv4 address revenue term notes. Tying these securities to the future revenue generated from IPv4 leases highlights the enduring value of these digital assets.

IPv4 History 

IPv4, short for Internet Protocol version 4, was initially introduced in 1981 by DARPA as a connectionless protocol. As the Internet got popular, IANA assigned the last of the free IPv4 space in 2011.

In other words, we ran out of IPv4 addresses. This exhaustion created a need for IPv4 leasing market.

A little over a year ago, I expressed my opinion that IP leasing should become a global market standard. Today, I am eager to share my thoughts on the development of this topic. 

The Persistent Value of IPv4 in a Developing Digital Economy 

Despite the technological advancements of IPv6, IPv4 addresses continue to hold significant value and are expected to remain relevant for decades. This longevity underscores the critical role IPv4 addresses play not just in the current Internet infrastructure, but also in their potential to influence economic strategies. 

Furthermore, the decision to leverage these assets for financial gain reflects a broader trend in which business-driven strategies significantly influence the Internet’s developmental trajectory. This underscores the importance of IPv4 addresses not just as tools for connectivity but as pivotal elements in corporate and economic planning.  

Catalyzing Stability and Growth in the IP Leasing Market 

Given the limited availability of IPv4 addresses, viewing IP leasing as a strategic opportunity for securing additional resources may be beneficial for all parties involved. 

According to Potaroo, today there are more than 658 million unadvertised IPv4 IP addresses.  

There are over 658 million unadvertised IPv4 IP addresses across all RIRs

This shift of IPv4 to a global commodity might potentially encourage businesses to stop safekeeping their unused IPv4 resources and instead capitalize on them through leasing.

Monetizing unused IPv4 resources empowers businesses to efficiently utilize their remaining assets, providing the ever-evolving ecosystem with alternative avenues for developing their businesses to meet the needs and demands of global customers. It also generates additional income for assets that might otherwise remain unused.  

Moreover, the efficient and scalable management of IP address infrastructure becomes a focal point, potentially spurring the growth of new companies and business models that could capitalize on these dynamics. This shift will increase stabilization and trustworthiness within the overall IP leasing market.  

The Advantages of Leasing IPv4 Addresses Over Selling

Selling IPv4 addresses isn’t the only way to monetize them; leasing is a viable and often more profitable alternative. Through IP leasing, companies can repurpose their unused IPv4 blocks, supporting their own financial growth and assisting others in expanding their networks.

With platforms like IPXO Marketplace, leasing IP addresses is simpler and quicker than selling, with the entire process – from registration to monetization – potentially taking just a few days. Unlike the one-time financial gain from selling, leasing offers a continuous stream of revenue and by allowing IP holders to set their own prices, establishes a fair market for all. This presents a distinct opportunity for business to monetize their unused resources and establish a steady income stream.

Moreover, with this shift in the market, where IPv4 addresses are now offered as secured revenue term notes, the overall approach promotes a more efficient and sustainable utilization of IPv4 addresses in the face of their global scarcity.

IP Address Governance for the Digital Future 

In preparation for the digital future, organizations need to actively strengthen their IP address governance frameworks.

Integrating effective IP management into core financial strategies and investment plans is crucial. Although forecasting IP address valuation trends may appear complex at first, businesses can rely on fundamental market dynamics such as demand, supply, and scarcity as a reliable foundation for making informed predictions. By doing so, they can ensure readiness to navigate the evolving digital landscape with financial foresight and success. 

Future Outlook: IPv4 as a Strategic Asset 

The evolution of the IPv4 leasing market, particularly with the integration of financial markets through instruments like the secured revenue term notes, is poised to drive further maturation.

IPv4-backed securities highlight an evolving perspective where IP addresses are seen as more than just technical resources — they are valuable economic assets capable of supporting significant financial endeavors. This shift not only reflects changing market conditions but also forecasts a future where digital resource management aligns more closely with strategic financial planning.

As the market continues to adapt and evolve, the role of IPv4 addresses is set to become increasingly central in the nexus of technology, finance, and corporate strategy.

About the author

Vincentas Grinius


Vincentas is a business-driven geek with over 15+ years of network, infrastructure and internet policy experience. As a CEO at IPXO, the Internet Protocol platform, Vincentas focuses on helping address complex network management issues and the global IPv4 shortage.
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