Welcome to The Long View—where we peruse the news of the week and strip it to the essentials. Let’s work out what really matters.
This week: IPv6 gets stabbed in the back, Fintech firms’ valuations are falling, and the latest browser war seems to be over—Firefox lost.
1. IPv6 Killed by Yet Another Can-Kicking Exercise
First up this week: An effort to liberate large chunks of “reserved” IPv4 space is moving forward. The vision is to free up an additional 419 million IP addresses.
Analysis: Stick a fork in IPv6—it’s done
This well-meaning project is just the latest dagger in the zombie corpse of IPv6. Although it solves other problems too, the main point of IPv6 is to give us far more address space. But each time we prolong v4’s life like this, we kick the v6 can further and further down the road. Eventually, we’ll reach the point where nobody cares anymore.
G’day, Juha Saarinen: Freeing up of hundreds of millions of IPv4 addresses mooted
Seth Schoen, who co-founded … Let’s Encrypt is working on an IPv4 clean-up project that would take address currently not routed on the public Internet, and make them generally usable. [He] said decisions taken during the 1980s to keep several IPv4 address ranges as “special”, has led to a substantial amount of numbering resources going to waste … ”even though the reasons behind the those decisions has not been borne out.”
Taking the 240/4, 0/8, 127/8, 225/8-232/8 ranges, and making them available … would add some 419 million IPv4 addresses. [But] Making currently reserved and unroutable ranges available comes with challenges. [For example,] many organisations use currently restricted ranges as private address space for their internal networks, which poses policy questions that need to be hammered out.
Surely the answer is to push for IPv6 adoption, not put IPv4 on life support? Seth Schoen speaks:
Some people … fear that our proposals compete with or threaten to undermine the adoption of IPv6. … This is a false dilemma: No efforts to improve the supply of IPv4 address space need be interpreted as an attack on IPv6, or as a reason for any organization to refrain from implementing IPv6.
Even organizations that have extensively adopted IPv6 typically continue to have demand for IPv4 space for many reasons. We think this will be true for a long time.
Which smacks of some serious wishful thinking. Here’s ZorinLynx’s bleak summary:
It’s a bidirectional chicken-and-egg problem: … There’s no motivation on the client side to use IPv6 because if you have IPv4 … you can access the entire Internet, [so] you’re not “missing out” on anything. … There’s no motivation on the server side to use IPv6 because if you have IPv4, everyone can reach you.
Full IPv6 adoption will not happen until it becomes a lot more painful to not use IPv6, and sadly that’s not going to happen anytime soon. … We get closer every year, but each year we travel about half the distance, so we’re not getting there any time soon. 🙁
2. Fintech Unicorns Lose Horns
Are you doing DevOps for a fintech startup? Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Analysis: “I hate to burst your bubble, but …”
a16z (née Andreessen Horowitz) is the latest organization pointing out the fintech emperor’s nakedness. Valuation multiples are crashing across the board, funding rounds are much harder to fill, options are drowning and layoffs loom.
Biz Carson: Fintech startups are in serious trouble
The higher you climb, the harder you fall — and that spells trouble across the board for fintech startups. … The peak of forward revenue multiples for fintech companies was in October 2021 when it hit near 25x. Now, it’s nosedived to below 5x. … This is a worse slide than sectors like the cloud.
As public fintech companies are seeing their market caps shrink, it’s going to be harder for private companies to justify their own rich valuations. … There are many many more startups that haven’t gone out to fundraise and face being re-priced. … The lingering question is how long any of this will last. Some investors like Mohnot have already marked down some of their portfolios, and more firms will follow suit.
Of the 19 layoffs listed on Layoffs.FYI this week, nine were at financial companies [including] Klarna … Fast … Bolt [and] MainStreet. … There’s going to be a lot of carnage and failed startups along the way.
And Stripe, of all firms. Alex Wilhelm:
Fintech startups are taking the downturn harder than most other sectors, data indicates. So much so that even the largest and best-known private fintech companies are suffering from embarrassing revaluations … including Stripe.
Other categories of public tech company saw sharp declines, like enterprise companies’ peak forward multiples falling from perhaps 16x or 17x to around 7x. But no category took more stick since the 2021 bubble burst than fintech. … From that perspective, seeing Fidelity revalue its stake in Stripe is not a surprise.
How can a failing fintech firm fix this? Heed the slightly sarcastic theskipper:
The principals of an unregulated company that’s in a desperate cash doom-loop with funding shut off wouldn’t resort to selling all that juicy highly-exploitable private data to any entity that flashes cold hard cash in front of their faces, would they? Of course not, don’t be silly.
3. Browser Stats Show Firefox in Fourth
Another month—another set of global browser stats. Chrome has again strengthened its enormous lead over Safari, with everything else being noise in the data foothills.
Analysis: Firefox falling fast
Firefox finally fell to fourth place, overtaken by Edge. Is it time to stop testing against it? Don’t be hasty.
Samuel Axon: New data shows only two browsers
Apple’s Safari web browser has more than 1 billion users. … Only one other browser has more than a billion users, and that’s Google’s Chrome. But at nearly 3.4 billion, Chrome still leaves Safari in the dust. … These numbers include mobile users, not just desktop.
If the news was just that Chrome is the biggest browser, that wouldn’t even be worth reporting—these days, Chrome is the web, to a degree. And it’s worth noting that the newest versions of … Edge are built on Google’s Chromium.
Edge … overtook Firefox for the … very distant third place [213 million].
R.I.P. Firefox? Not so fast, argues 93 Escort Wagon:
Firefox had 179,084,244 users. Even if that’s small … compared to Chrome or Safari, it’s still plenty of users to keep Firefox viable.
Until Mozilla shoots itself in the foot again.
Think about the makeup of your users: Do they include many people similar to caution live frogs?
The more everything shifts to Chrome and Chromium, the more adamantly I hold on to Firefox. Lack of diversity in the browser field led us to stagnation with IE—we don’t need to relive that experience again.
The Moral of the Story:
Better three hours too soon than a minute too late
You have been reading The Long View by Richi Jennings. You can contact him at @RiCHi or [email protected].
Image: Te Lun Ou Yang (via Unsplash; leveled and cropped)