Large parts of the Internet still run on IP version 4, which offers about 4 billion different IP addresses for use. For a long time we’ve known that eventually we would run out. For example, RIPE NCC, that manages IP addresses for Europe, the Middle East and part of Asia, no longer has any IP addresses left to hand out since November 2019. The long term solution will be to migrate to IP version 6, but large parts of the Internet are still not quite prepared for that. Meanwhile, if you wanted to start a new Internet Service Provider or build a large new network, you’re simply out of luck… There just are no more addresses available for you.
Perhaps not unsurprisingly, this has led to the rise of marketplaces where you can buy or lease ‘second-hand’ IP addresses. At some of these marketplaces, blocks of IP addresses are traded for around US$20–24 per IP address, or rented out for prices between 20 cents to US$1.20 per month.
Though this does seem to go somewhat against the original philosophy of the Internet, viewing IP addresses as a public resource, perhaps it makes sense. If a domainname like business.com can sell for 345 million dollars (!), then surely a fancy IP-address like 220.127.116.11 must be worth a handsome price!
Source: the Internet Protocol Journal