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Why the move to IPv6 is about empowerment

IPv6

Giving everyone their own IP address, similar to how they have a unique phone number, will open significant empowerment opportunities for people around the world and will significantly improve the adoption of technologies such as blockchain, says Professor Latif Ladid.

Ladid, who is the chair of the 5G World Alliance as well as the president of the IPv6 Forum, was speaking at the Global Forum on Technology, Sustainability and Humanity held in Muscat, Oman in October 2022.

‘The end-to-end empowerment is really fundamental. We don’t have this at the moment – everyone who has a server has someone taking care of them and telling them what to do. You lose that end-to-end policy which you should define yourself.

‘It is fundamental that we empower everyone on the Internet so that they are not just tourists. This is why the first thing (that needs to happen) is the number of IP addresses needs to be expanded beyond the four billion addresses we have now on IPv4, to the trillions of IP addresses available on IPv6.’

Growing adoption of IPv6 around the world

Ladid noted that IPv6 adoption continues to see significant deployment around the world, specifically in China and India. He added that this increased adoption means that India is likely to become the first ‘blockchain nation’ in the coming years.

This is primarily being driven by major policymakers and government bodies around the world including the European Union, the US, France, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Germany.

Ladid said that the deployment of many blockchain protocols today is pretty ‘lousy’ as they are still built on top of IPv4. He added that this is not the proper way to build a blockchain as it requires a peer-to-peer level to support proper implementation.

IPv6 – a clear use case for blockchain

Perhaps one of the biggest use cases for blockchain is in the food supply network, where as much as 30% of all food is lost before it even makes it to the shelves, said Ladid. He added that the industry has no formal tracking and tracing systems in place and inefficient regulation enforcement.

Other specific issues facing the sector include:

  • Disease and contamination,
  • Waste product recalls,
  • Inefficiency and errors,
  • Inventory tracing and tracking,
  • Counterfeit products,
  • Visibility reporting,
  • Enforcing compliance.

‘The data exists there on paper but we need to put it in the (blockchain) system so that we can track it. Then you can go to a shop with your QR code reader and put it on the meat and can see that it came from Luxembourg and how it is priced. The rules already exist, and regulators are good at developing them, but they do not have the tools to verify these things.’

Speaking specifically on the value of Bitcoin, Ladid said that it was digital cash that has several real-world use cases beyond just the banking sector. ‘How about all the supply-chains? (We can use Bitcoin) for anything that is making money off of users and producers. But you need the right tools to do that.’

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