Forget mining bitcoins – mine IPv4 addresses

Back before the beginning of the Internet, folks at ARPA sat down to figure out a reasonable way for defense contractors at Universities to get their computers to talk to each other. They eventually created a thing called IP, which allowed computer to send each other data over a network something like the phone system. To make the “phone ring” at the other computer, you needed to know its “phone number”, which is known as the IP address. If you know that number, and your network knows how to get you there (or at least guess the neighborhood), you’re in! The computer on the other side of the planet is as easy to use as the one on your desk (unless you need to press the power button).

So the people doing this looked to the future – they decided that the IP “phone number” would be made up of 4 numbers from 0-255 (while it is clumsy for humans, it is simple for computers. This meant the interconnected networks could have 256x256x256x256 computers on the networks all at the same time! That’s over 4 billion possible computers! At the time, there were maybe a few dozen computers that need to do this – talk about overkill! – and each computer could answer 62768 “calls” at a time!

Once IP was in place, TCP was added on top to let you do things like transfer files, chat, send email. Life was Good. America owned this TCP/IP thing. While people at universities and defense companies used it and made suggestions, the US made the rules.

Then some guys in CERN created this thing called “the web”. It allowed a “web server” to send text, pictures, sounds to anyone who asked for a copy without needing a login and an account using a thing called a “web browser”.

Around 1991, seeing the potential for commerce and government snooping, the powers that be yanked control of this university network away and put in the control of a number of entities like Netwirk Solutions located near Langley Virginia. The “Internet” was formally opened to the entire world, and this meant college professors and their narrow view of reality had to give way to AOL and buddy lists by 1995.

As things started to take off, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out those 4 billon IP addresses were not going to last forever. This was in part because each of the original players in developing IP assigned the first number of the IP address to be exclusively theirs. AT&T, MIT, DEC, HP, GE, Xerox, Apple, Ford, Computer Sciences Corporation, Eli Lily, Merck, US Postal Service, Prudential Securities… gave themselves each 16 million numbers to use. That made it simple in the beginning to keep the phone lines straight and “how to get there from here”

Seeing the handwriting on the wall, in 1993, the rules started to change to prevent “running out” of IP numbers and to address the complaints from Europe the Internet was being dominated by English speaking Americans. If a baguette shop has a web site in Paris, they realistically could not be expected to call AOL to get a web site.

At that point, the powers that be could have said there will be an American Internet and any other country is free to set up their own Internet as long as they don’t talk to each other. But that would make it much harder for the NSA and CIA to monitor, so rightly the Internet was made global and that meant the entire world got a voice. Blocks of 16 million IPs were signed over to a European (RIPE) and Asia (APNIC) agency to do the handing out of IP addresses and handle the day to day tasks of coordinating who is in charge of what.

The original American IP Registry called ARIN ( was put under ICANN, which had overall responsibility for coordinating ARIN, RIPE and APNIC (and later LACNIC for Latin America and Afrinic for Africa). Initially ICANN was dominated by the US with the recognition eventually, the US could not unilaterally set the rules. The Snowden leaks of how the US government has abused that trust like deliberately weakening encryption has vastly sped up this process.

So what does this have to do with getting rich quick? IP addresses are now a tradable commodity that can be bought and sold. ARIN would appreciate if you have a million unused addresses that you just voluntarily turn them in, but they realize most people aren’t that altruistic. So a business of buying and selling IP addresses has blossomed. As demand for the Internet grows in China, India, and populous parts of the world, demand for the US to “give up” unused IP ranges back to ICANN to be turned over to non American numbering authorities picks up speed – but in the end, they are going to run out and trading them will become super serious business, maybe even to the point of starting wars.

IPv6 was going to “fix” this, but became a “standard by committee” that got way out of control. Rather than doing something simple like adding another digit or two in front (like country codes for international dialing), IPV6 has the ability to literally give every atom in the universe its own IPv6 address. Outside of research networks, it still has made no impact on the real world.

Here is the ARIN page about buying and selling IP addresses

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14 Responses to Forget mining bitcoins – mine IPv4 addresses

  1. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    Just when you thought you could never stop laughing whenever you remember the IBM arguments that their Token Ring was better than the Ethernet, you see something that says they may have been another Xerox PARC:

  2. Rick.Blibit says:

    I didn’t see Al Gore’s name anywhere in your history lesson… (which, by the way, I think was an excellent review of historical events!) – I think Al holds a Patent or maybe a copyright on the title, at least. After all, he invented the whole darned Internet – pretty much single handedly, ya know! You obviously weren’t aware of that fact. Without him, we’d still be using modems on a BBS, somewhere (if that far along). At least that’s what I was told by a very highly respected professor from NYU. You have no idea how difficult it was to keep a straight face as that man, with a most serious look on his face told this to a group of people standing around with drinks in their hands (as another professor, from Duke – just stood there nodding yes – in full agreement). “Without his funding and direction with the ‘Gore Act’ there would be NO Internet!” Wow. I mean WOW! I thought. I had no idea. And here I thought Xerox and a few others may have played at least a small part in the marvel we call the Internet. Guess not… eh?

    It was at that very moment I realized that there is a time in everyone’s life – that special moment – when you realize a Depends undergarment may actually be needed at a public gathering. I have never seen anywhere that is so FULL OF –IT, as Washington, DC, aided of course by illustrious, highly educated visitors from various institutions of “higher learning” (or now “socialist absorption”).

    Something really BAD happened to our nation’s colleges and universities in the early 1960s, or thereabouts. The infiltration (an infection, really) WAS a written plan, and I never took it seriously. Who did? (they did). I always thought everyone would see thought it. Sadly, a good many did not! And look at the damage it has done. A large portion of our population is close to blithering idiots. We may not recover from it. “Common Core” for adults is what it was, and sadly, it seems to have worked.

    You have a great site here. A good resource – a tool – and you obviously know a bunch about commercial terrestrial radio (and politics, life in general, and you aren’t infected with the disease of the masses that seems to be running rampant through the general population – well, you don’t seem to be – and you have good sense of humor, to boot) .

    I enjoy reading it, and all the comments from your visitors. You have attracted intelligent life where it seems to be getting scarce. SRG is a bright-spot in my 10 to 16 hour work days. And your system allows me to quickly find intelligent discussions (almost 24/7 – almost) – or read some intelligence in the messages. Either way, I enjoy it. But that is about all I have been doing for quite some time – just read and listen. I had to eventually contribute something – some words at least. I was VERY depressed when you pulled your “Going Galt” on us some time ago. Then your trip – from where to where I don’t know (I’ve done that a bunch of times) – I do know I had my fingers crossed that you’d make it to wherever it is you were headed – something about a snow storm.

    If you ever contemplate “going Galt” again – at least for lack of resources, or maybe you need a sever – or bandwidth – or some help coding – or whatever – send some email – sound the alarm. I’ll do what I can. I am not without some resources, but I am by no means “one of the ONE PERCENTERS.”

    • Art Stone says:

      You’ve been here a while then – atlas Shrugged Part III will be out later this year.

      The Galt page had a fairly obvious link to forward you past the barrier hiding the hidden valley. The range of reactions was interesting. The main point was to create the shock of what “going Galt” would really feel like to other people. I was fairly disappointed with Atlas Shrugged – she stated the problem, but no realistic solution. At its core, it is back to the Noah’s Ark idea of just saving the best, kill all the rest and start over.

  3. Rick.Blibit says:

    I think that killing us all off may BE the current administration’s plan since I just heard a run down of the number of (heavily armed) “Federal Police” we now have. Death my slow, painful, economic disaster. And I guess that makes Air Force One the Ark (Noahbama’s Ark?). Eight socialists appointed by -hmmmm – Marx’s Ghost? followed up the rolling stairway by lumbering pairs of lazy animals (their highly educated “friends” from Chicago, I guess) . And that means we have to wait for Al Gore’s Arctic ice to melt (again). No wait a minute – I take that back – Not too long ago I heard a 12 year old call a talk show and ask why everyone thought that the Arctic ice melting would make the sea level rise since the ice currently “displaces” the water that it would become, and he further said that since water actually expands when it becomes ice, that may mean the sea levels may actually go DOWN a few inches if it all melts. Liquid displacement – of course! I MUST find that kid IMMEDIATELY and hire him!

    And yes, I think Rand explained it quite well, but I am not sure what the real solution is, either. Education is the only thing I can come up, but someone has to assassinate about 4000 college professors and eliminate the Federal Department of Marxist Re-education (for a good start back to reality, that is).

    I was serious about my offer of assistance if you go Galt for real. I was not sharp enough to find the hidden link (at least I don’t remember if I did or not – but I don’t think so because I do remember being bummed out for a while).

    Recently you mentioned that is was time consuming to check on the player types, but I think I saw where you automated it (or that was my take on it – good idea!). NO ONE ELSE – no other web site, or player, or system I have tried even comes close to your capabilities. It’s an excellent site. It is efficient and I recognized the benefits of it immediately. My mind spun trying to figure out all the info you need – you do lot of data gathering and melt it all down into something VERY useful.
    Thanks for the effort. I appreciate it immensely.

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