MIT selling 8 million coveted IPv4 addresses; Amazon a buyer

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Credit: John Phelan

MIT is selling half of its 16 million valuable IPv4 addresses – an increasingly scarce stash it has held since the birth of the Internet. While details of the sale have not been made public, at least some of those addresses have already been transferred to Amazon.

MIT says it will use the proceeds of the sale to finance its own IPv6 network upgrades and “support activities focused on the future of the Internet and the global cyber-infrastructure.”

From an announcement by Next Generation MITnet.

Fourteen million of these IPv4 addresses have not been used, and we have concluded that at least eight million are excess and can be sold without impacting our current or future needs, up to the point when IPv6 becomes universal and address scarcity is no longer an issue. The Institute holds a block of 20 times 10^30 (20 nonillion) IPv6 addresses.

As part of our upgrade to IPv6, we will be consolidating our in-use IPv4 address space to facilitate the sale of MIT’s excess IPv4 capacity. Net proceeds from the sale will cover our network upgrade costs, and the remainder will provide a source of endowed funding for the Institute to use in furthering its academic and research mission.

Given the source of these new funds, we believe that MIT should use them, whenever possible, to support activities focused on the future of the Internet and the global cyber-infrastructure. Our intention is not only to advance our own agenda, but to help shape the future of the on-line world.

MIT is among a number of institutions that have been sitting on large swaths of IPv4 addresses that are otherwise only available now on secondary markets. The university’s decision to sell has sparked diverse discussion on forums such as Hacker News, Reddit and Slashdot.

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Meanwhile, as its 20th anniversary nears, worldwide IPv6 adoption continues to climb … slowly.

And Belgium continues to lead the charge, as I’m sure you knew.

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