With the start of 2020, it’s a good time to review performance of the IPv4 market over the course of 2019. Read on for our full perspective, but if you’re interested in tracking prices, we have a new transaction ticker on IPv4.Global, with a plug-in coming.
Looking at data from our online marketplace, prices are off their peaks for the first time since we launched and made the platform publicly available in 2014. Average /24 price peaked in the summer around $23-24. The average may be slightly lower now, but the variation is wider than we’ve seen in a while, with some transactions at $24-25 with others under $20. Because of this variation, it’s too early to declare a peak, but organizations wanting to sell IP addresses or buy IP addresses can do well in this market.
To have a more complete picture of the market, we also reviewed private auctions data from our invitation only online marketplace (private transactions between verified parties for larger IP blocks, up to /9).
The chart of private transactions shows a sharper curve than the marketplace. Early on, buyers expected a discount for very large blocks. As sellers realized that the number of very large blocks (/9 – /13) was very limited, and that a buyer would much prefer a /11 over 32 /16s, they began expecting a premium, which has been reflected in the price.
Have prices for large blocks peaked? The chart looks dramatic. There are a couple of things to consider before concluding that prices have peaked.
- There are a couple of transactions around $22.50 and $25.00, which if you draw a line from them to the end of 2019, gives the illusion of a sharp decline. However, those two outliers were in the middle of 2018, followed by several more at more moderate prices.
- Similarly, the first two transactions of 2019 were a little higher than any others in the year; the rest of the year was fairly flat or declined slightly.
- As with online transactions, we closed the year at about the same place we closed last year, even if mid-year prices were higher.
- In 2017-2018, IPv4.Global powered by Hilco Streambank represented a very large buyer, and demand drove up prices; without that demand, prices may be reverting to some previous equilibrium.
All of those caveats considered, IPv4 sellers waiting for peak prices should consider listing IP addresses for sale with us soon.
It’s also interesting how scattered prices were before 2014. Once Hilco Streambank launched the IPv4 market online, IPv4 buyers and IPv4 sellers had similar information, and could rationally negotiate prices.
Finally, let’s take a look at overall transfer volume. This chart takes data from all five RIRs, but excludes Merger and Acquisition transfers where they are identified as such. The total number of addresses transferred in 2019 was lower than in 2017-2018, but the overall number of transactions was up. Since 2015, the transfer market has moved the equivalent of two /8s every year. As the US DoD contemplates selling some of its 13 /8s, there will be a meaningful impact on market pricing even if they are sold off at the pace of one each year. Several very large buyers slowed or stopped buying in 2019, so the average number of addresses per transfer has gone down. This probably also affected prices. It will be interesting to see whether 2020 becomes the year where the largest buyers settle into a routine, while medium-large buyers take up more space.
We have some exciting plans for 2020, including more ways to improve the online marketplace. There’s no easier way to buy and sell IPv4 addresses than IPv4.Global. We’ve begun some partnerships with other IPv4 brokers to use our site, which is good for buyers, sellers, and brokers. We will soon add the ability to buy and sell ASNs to our IP market online. We have other plans in the works which we’ll unveil throughout the year as they are ready. Watch this space—we’re going to reinvent the market again!