Collapsed retail store RadioShack will auction off its public IPv4 addresses as part of its ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.
The 32,000-odd addresses will be sold off in /24 and /20 subnets by auction site IPv4Auctions.com, which specializes in the sale and resale of the increasingly valuable online space. The website says it has "exclusivity" on RadioShack's IPv4 blocks.
Typically, IPv4 addresses only appear on the market after a company goes bankrupt. In the early days of the internet, IPv4 blocks were handed out a little too generously to what were then the large computer and telecommunications companies. As those companies die off, so the blocks have become salable assets.
For a long time, the organizations in charge of allocating address blocks – regional internet registries (RIRs) – insisted that any spare addresses and capacity should be returned to them, for free, for reallocation.
But with the addresses worth increasing amounts of money as companies try to expand, but resist efforts to shift over to IPv6, that approach has become untenable and the RIRs effectively turn a blind eye to the auctions.
In April of this year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology threw open the doors on that approach when it announced it wanted to sell its very large /8 block of 16 million addresses in order to fund expansion of its IPv6 network.
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