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I was reading about the AIR token ICO and they mention that they minted 1.491 billion tokens and burned 8,507,442 tokens. Why not just mint an even 1.5 billion tokens and distribute them evenly among the people who bought the token? Or why not just mint the 1.491 billion and just never create the 8.5 million?

I get that if you mint all the coins ahead of time then what's variable is how much they're worth but you can sell them all. If there's a set price, then you can mint the coins after the ICO ends. Either of these approaches wouldn't require burning tokens.

What am I not getting?

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The burning was completely unplanned. There originally was no intention to burn tokens. The reason they burned the tokens was because there was a red flag on one of the contributors, so they returned that contributors ETH and didn't give them the tokens. Since the ICO was already over, the easiest and most beneficial thing to do for all token holders was to burn the tokens.

  • Ok, I was under the impression that burning was a planned step. My perspective of their succinct write up didn't link the red flagged contributor to the burn. That makes complete sense why they'd burn in that case. Is it safe to say that in an ideal ICO there's no plan to burn tokens? – Corey Ogburn Nov 15 '17 at 18:50
  • "Is it safe to say that in an ideal ICO there's no plan to burn tokens?" Not necessarily. It would be weird for an ICO to plan to burn tokens immediately after ICO, but it's not uncommon for companies to promise to buy back tokens over time and burn them to reduce supply and increase the value. – flygoing Nov 15 '17 at 18:54
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First, they must burn the added tokens in an illegal way, which was reached by a member of their community in order to avoid legal harassment.
Second, they can not be distributed to the first shareholders because trading is in progress and this will pose a risk to their market value and slight inflation.

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