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The IPv4 Market in 2021

This post was co-authored by Marc Lindsey, President and Janine Goodman, Vice President of Avenue4.

Price was the story of the 2021 IPv4 market. Large and small organizations alike continue to invest in their IPv4 infrastructure causing demand for IPv4 address space to intensify. Meanwhile, supply remains constrained. These market factors drove prices up at a historic rate in 2021.

Most other market indicators remained relatively unremarkable, however. The trendlines for total market transactions and small block transactions continued on their modest upward trajectory. At slightly over 22 million IPv4 numbers sold, the annual trading volume increased by 12.5% compared to 2020. This signals a mild supply-side recovery following a major inventory dip in 2020. For comparison, nearly 45 million numbers were traded in 2018.

A couple of market factors did stand out. The smallest number of /16s since 2015 were sold in standalone transactions (i.e., outside of large block deals), suggesting that the supply of /16s is contracting—though not as dramatically as large-block supply. Although ARIN inter-RIR transfers continue to dominate the global market, transactions among LACNIC, RIPE NCC and APNIC have picked up speed. In general, the global market is comprised of mostly small to mid-sized blocks.

Six years post-free pool exhaustion, the market demand for IPv4 space remains strong. Supply is struggling to keep pace, but inventory levels are rising back up slowly in response to rapid price increases. Neither buyers nor sellers appear under pressure to adopt IPv6.

The world is moving fast, and so is the IPv4 market. The infographic below reflects what we believe is the essential information IPv4 market participants need to understand the challenges and opportunities in the coming year.

By Janine Goodman, Vice President and Co-founder at Avenue4 LLC

Janine advises clients on their purchase and sale of IPv4 assets, with an emphasis on helping clients navigate applicable regional Internet registry policies when structuring and executing their transactions.

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