- coingeek.com – 2606: 4700 :: 6813: ab32
- nchain.com – 2606: 4700 :: 6811: 9f43
- bitcoinassociation.net – 2606: 4700 :: 6811: 17eb
Why does Bitcoin need IPv6? Or rather, why does IPv6 need Bitcoin? After all, Bitcoin is “a peer-to-peer electronic cash system”. Support for direct transactions between IP addresses was written in the original Bitcoin code, and while it worked, there were some security vulnerabilities when communicating over IPv4.
IPv4 is the oldest internet protocol (but still the majority for now). In recent years, more of the global network has started migrating to IPv6, which has 340 trillion trillion (not a typo) of unique addresses and built-in privacy / security enhancements, such as cryptographically generated addresses (CGA).
With IPv6, Bitcoin can realize its full potential with direct, secure and fast transactions between hundreds of billions of users and devices around the world. Bitcoin and IPv6 can create a whole new type of digital economy. Micro and nano payments can be automated between machines and small IoT devices. The internet may finally have its long-awaited level of payment and the means to manage it.
Check if you are using IPv6 and how to set it up
IPv6 addresses look different than IPv4 addresses. Instead of four numbers separated by periods, IPv6 usually has eight groups of four hexadecimal characters, separated by colons. If you see a colon, it’s an abbreviation for groups with zeroes only (ex: 0000: 0000 becomes: :). Any leading zeros in a group can be omitted.
You can confirm if a site is running on IPv6 by installing an extension called “IPvFoo” in Chrome and Chromium-based web browsers. A small widget will show if you are looking at the site on IPv4 or the brilliant new version 6.
There is still a problem, though: even if a site has an IPv6 address, you might still be looking at the IPv4 version. There is no difference (to the user) in how the site works and you may wonder why you can’t see any sites running on IPv6.
The reason is probably this: you are still on an IPv4-only network. This is where it gets a little tricky because in order to change it, you will need to configure the settings of your home router (or wifi router).
If you don’t know how to do it, it might be best to let it go for now or learn. If you do, it’s relatively simple (although it will be different for each router). Most modern router configurations will have a section for configuring IPv6 network access. What you enter in its fields will depend on your ISP. Either you’ll have to chat with your ISP’s support team or they’ll have an online page to guide you.
Famous brands like Netgear and TP-Link have information pages on configuring routers / wifi and how to configure them for IPv6. Here are some links, and if your branding isn’t there, you can still get a general idea of how it was done and what is required:
It is also possible that your ISP or mobile phone provider does not yet offer IPv6 access, although it is becoming more and more common for them to have it as an option. Unfortunately, if not, it’s a sign that your ISP isn’t future-oriented. Some ISPs actually require IPv6 configuration upon installation, so you may already have it.
Bitcoin and IPv6: improving the Internet
Dragging the entire Internet, along with all of its users and services, into the IPv6 world has been a slow process. After all, IPv6 is a thing from before the World Wide Web, and even tutorials from over a decade ago tell us that IPv4 is probably still a few years older. This is mainly due to the work that network administrators have to do to reconfigure everything, as well as the need to replace outdated hardware.
Bitcoin P2P transactions should still be able to use IPv4, so legacy networks aren’t left behind, as long as you have a static IPv4 address without a NAT or CGN router to handle your traffic. But they are not all. For ordinary users, unique IPv4 addresses are quite rare nowadays. Transactions will also need to rely on IPv4 security add-ons such as DNSSEC and TLS / SSL certificates to generate addresses. While it works, IPv6’s built-in secure key generation is far better.
Direct transactions between IP addresses are another example of how Bitcoin was years ahead of its time, even in 2008. While migrating to a better network has been a slow process, it is accelerating rapidly. It’s helpful to have a little knowledge of how it works and why it’s best, so go through these steps to migrate to IPv6 as soon as possible.
Watch: Dr. Craig Wright’s keynote address at the BSV Global Blockchain Convention: A Better Internet with IPv6 and BSV Blockchain
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek Bitcoin for beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin, as originally intended by Satoshi Nakamoto, and blockchain.