ICON's Decentralized Growth Engine *IDEA*


I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the Contribution Proposal System (CPS) and its role in the ICON ecosystem over the long-term. Two key points that ICON is focusing on for the success of our network are “Decentralization” and “Sustainability”.

I believe that the CPS addresses both focal points, and that ICON has all the pieces necessary to be a successful ecosystem for many years to come.

High-level goal of the CPS

From a high-level, I see the CPS as ICON’s “Decentralized Growth Engine”. Even without the involvement of the ICON Foundation, internal and external teams alike can receive funding for their projects if there is a perceived benefit to either the ICON or ICE networks. This decentralized decision removes central bias and favoritism for grants.

Once BTP and IISS 3.1 are live, the CPS is well positioned to become this Decentralized Growth Engine for ICON. The CPS provides an opportunity for our ecosystem to be self-sustaining over the long term, which will allow us to grow both through bull markets as well as bear markets.

As a Decentralized Growth Engine, the CPS could be used to build infrastructure, build new applications, incentivize existing applications, incentivize BTP use cases, entice new developers and fund community-led marketing initiatives.

How CPS tokenomics previously worked

Previously, the CPS received all its funding through ICON Foundation node rewards. This was a centralized process, where the ICON Foundation claimed iSCORE and sent the funds directly to the CPS Treasury SCORE. iSCORE was claimed by the Foundation when the CPS Treasury balance ran low, which had been around every 2 months.

There previously was a “max cap” for the CPS Treasury SCORE of 1,000,000 ICX. “Max cap” means the maximum quantity of the token that can be held in the Treasury SCORE. If this max cap is reached, excess inflow of ICX would be sent to a separate smart contract to burn the tokens.

During this iteration, proposals were funded in ICX. This posed an issue when market conditions were volatile, as teams receiving funding had to try and estimate their proposal around market conditions. If ICX price dropped below the market price of ICX when the proposal was submitted, often teams were short on funding and had to create a “Budget Adjustment Request” to receive additional funding.

With the previous rewards system and delegation numbers, this equated to around 1,650 ICX/day ($2,475/day) or around 50,000 ICX/month ($75,000/month).

Example Flow

(Centralized Process)

ICON Foundation claims iSCORE → ICX claimed is sent to CPS Treasury

  • if ICX balance = 1,000,000

    • Excess ICX is burnt

How CPS tokenomics will work after IISS 3.1 and BTP

Now that ICON 2.0 is launched, network proposals will be periodically made to adopt IISS 3.1. ICON 2.0 also allows for Java SCOREs, which enables our flagship product “BTP” to be deployed. IISS 3.1 and BTP introduce a new era for CPS funding as well. 10% of all ICON 2.0 inflation is allocated to the CPS Treasury SCORE, similar to how ICX stakers are allocated their daily iSCORE rewards for voting on our network. The current BTP model accounts for a 0.2% fee for every BTP transaction performed, with fees collected in the BTP Fee Aggregator. These fees are auctioned to ICX holders at a discount, and the ICX used to purchase these discounted assets are sent to the CPS Treasury SCORE. Both “income streams” are decentralized processes, with ICON 2.0 inflation being a static inflow while BTP fees are a dynamic inflow.

With the release of ICON 2.0, we are also upgrading the CPS to introduce our “bnUSD” treasury along with other minor improvements. The bnUSD treasury is important because it allows for projects to receive stable funding (bnUSD), rather than being subject to market conditions due to receiving a volatile asset (ICX).

Since inflows to the CPS Treasury SCORE are still ICX, a swapping mechanism is needed to convert the ICX inflows into bnUSD. This swapping occurs through the Balanced DEX, where ICX is first swapped to sICX, and then sICX is swapped for bnUSD. These transactions are triggered through transactions on the CPS such as: submitting a Proposal, submitting a Progress Report, voting on a Proposal, voting on a Progress Report.

An additional max cap of 200,000 bnUSD is now introduced for the bnUSD portion of the CPS Treasury, while the ICX max cap is changed from 1,000,000 ICX to 200,000 ICX. How this works is ICX flows into the CPS Treasury and is swapped to bnUSD until the bnUSD treasury reaches 200,000 bnUSD. Once the bnUSD max cap is reached, ICX begins to accumulate in the CPS Treasury until the ICX max cap is reached. Once both max caps are reached, the excess inflow of ICX is sent to a separate smart contract to burn the ICX.

All proposals are now funded in bnUSD. Teams looking to submit a proposal will need to estimate their costs in bnUSD and will receive stable funding if their proposal is accepted.

There are now three different inflows to the CPS Treasury that we need to estimate: ICON Foundation node rewards, 10% ICON 2.0 inflation and BTP Fees.

  1. ICON Foundation node rewards: With the new rewards system and rough delegation numbers, this equates to around 1,000 ICX/day ($1,500/day) or around 30,000 ICX/month ($45,000/month).
  2. 10% ICON 2.0 inflation: With an estimated monthly ICX inflation of 3,000,000 ICX, 10% equates to 300,000 ICX/month ($450,000/month).
  3. BTP Fees: It is very difficult to estimate BTP Fees, so the best we can do is use comparative analysis to make a rough guess as to what volume will be and then multiply by the fee percentage. Based on (rough) current monthly volume numbers for cross-chain bridges in the industry, BTP could do something like 150,000,000 ICX/month volume. 150,000,000 * 0.002 = 300,000 ICX/month ($450,000 ICX/month).

Example Flow

(Centralized Process)

ICON Foundation claims iSCORE → ICX claimed is sent to CPS Treasury

(Decentralized Process)

ICX is minted through daily ICX Inflation → ICX sent to CPS Treasury

(Decentralized Process)

BTP transaction occurs → BTP fee sent to BTP Fee Aggregator → ICX is used to purchase discounted asset → spent ICX is sent to CPS Treasury

  • if bnUSD balance < 200,000:

    • On Balanced DEX: ICX swapped for sICX → sICX swapped for bnUSD → bnUSD sent to CPS Treasury
  • elif bnUSD balance = 200,000:

    • ICX accumulates

    • if ICX balance = 200,000:

      • Excess ICX is burnt

How I propose CPS tokenomics should work moving forward

I propose everything for “How CPS tokenomics will work after IISS 3.1 and BTP’’ above to remain the same, except for some changes to how the max caps for the bnUSD/ICX treasuries work. We create a minimum cap for the bnUSD treasury of 500,000 bnUSD, introduce a dynamic bnUSD max cap and remove a max cap to the ICX treasury.

A minimum cap for the bnUSD treasury will act as a parameter to guarantee the CPS always has adequate funding for prospective projects and development. ICX inflows will always be converted into bnUSD until the bnUSD treasury contains at least 500,000 bnUSD.

A dynamic maximum cap for the bnUSD treasury is introduced as a hedging mechanism for the CPS treasury. The maximum cap will always be 25% of the market value of the ICX treasury, unless that value is less than 500,000 bnUSD. This guarantees that our treasury takes advantage of ICX price appreciation during bull markets and is a hedging mechanism in the event of a market downturn.

No maximum cap for the ICX treasury will allow us to utilize the tokenomics introduced with IISS 3.1 and BTP to take advantage of funding that will incentivize the growth of the ICON ecosystem and our products.

Example Flow

(Centralized Process)

ICON Foundation claims iSCORE → ICX claimed is sent to CPS Treasury

(Decentralized Process)

ICX is minted through daily ICX Inflation → ICX sent to CPS Treasury

(Decentralized Process)

BTP transaction occurs → BTP fee sent to BTP Fee Aggregator → ICX is used to purchase discounted asset → ICX is sent to CPS Treasury

  • if bnUSD balance < 500,000:

    • On Balanced DEX: ICX swapped for sICX → sICX swapped for bnUSD → bnUSD sent to CPS Treasury
  • elif bnUSD balance = 500,000:

    • ICX accumulates

(Dynamic Max Cap Calculation)

  • if ICX treasury market value > $500,000:
    • bnUSD max cap = 25% ICX treasury market value

Table of Flow Comparison

Remember the above is just my estimation of numbers, but it is likely that burning excess CPS inflows will only make ICX less inflationary. Burning this ICX may have a psychological benefit to some users, however the burning would only be reducing inflation by 11%. Taking the ICX out of circulating supply is what really matters for the long term, and this can simply be done by storing the ICX in the CPS treasury (unless it is used to fund our network growth).

How the proposed model promotes long-term sustainability of ICON

I believe for ICON to be successful and sustainable over the long-term we need to accumulate funding in the CPS rather than automatically burning excess ICX inflows. Accumulation of funding in the CPS introduces “optionality” to the platform. By keeping funds in the CPS we now have “the option to burn or the option to invest". Optionality has a tangible financial benefit, and objectively speaking having more optionality is more valuable than less optionality. Plus, this gives the platform more flexibility whereas burning limits our funding options.

Additionally, all ICX inflows to the CPS are essentially removed from circulating supply until our network’s P-Reps decide to release them, and (hopefully) they are released for funding a project that will add a tangible benefit to the ICON or ICE ecosystems.

If the community feels that the treasury is getting too large, a proposal can be made to burn X # of ICX tokens. The key here is we are giving ourselves the option to use these funds for growth before we decide to burn.

ICON’s application layer and interoperability product are still in their early stages and could use additional funding to help cement the foundation we are trying to lay for the long term, so this is why I choose growth over deflation.

Here is how I believe additional funding to the CPS could be used to solidify ICON as a competitive blockchain over the long-term:

  1. Incentivizing existing products on the application layer

    a. While other projects are announcing incentive programs to port over popular applications and try to attract new capital to their blockchains, I believe we can do a more sustainable implementation of this concept. Applications like Balanced could apply for supplementary funding to an incentive program they announce for their product. For example, If Balanced announces a $1 million liquidity incentive program using their DAO Fund, they could request an additional 50% from the CPS treasury (500,000 bnUSD) to supplement their initiative.

    b. How does this help ICON? It attracts new capital to our blockchain. New capital generates transactions, uses our products, contributes to our community, participates in grassroots marketing initiatives and provides buying pressure to the ICX token.

  2. Incentivizing BTP adoption and use cases

    a. It makes sense to use a portion of the CPS funds to incentivize our flagship product BTP, which also generates revenue for the CPS. By incentivizing BTP use cases, we increase the number of bridging transactions that take place, which increases the amount of fees generated and sent back to the CPS.

    b. One example of how we could incentivize the adoption of BTP wrapped assets is by incentivizing liquidity on partner blockchains. This would occur by creating an application where users can stake their LP tokens containing predetermined BTP wrapped assets, and in return they receive a boost on the yield they receive for being a liquidity provider. This boost would come from the funds provided by the CPS. With increased liquidity of BTP wrapped assets on our partner chains, we can widely distribute our assets, build new use cases for these wrapped assets, lock liquidity allowing for arbitrage opportunities, and increase the number of bridging transactions.

  3. Funding the development of additional applications on our application layer

    a. Once Optimus and Equality are live, we will have all the fundamental pieces for a DeFi ecosystem in place on ICON. These products will allow for supplementary DeFi protocols to be built on top of them, increasing yield opportunities and asset utility on the ICON network. A thriving DeFi ecosystem will attract external capital and generate additional transactions on ICON.

    b. Funding of the application layer doesn’t need to be confined to DeFi. It could also be used to support NFT creators/products and introduce more P2E games on our network. These applications are beneficial to ICON in similar ways as DeFi products are.

  4. Infrastructure

    a. High-quality developer tooling and documentation provides a seamless experience for new and existing developers to contribute to the ICON public blockchain. These types of things need grant funding from the CPS because they are open source and public goods.

  5. Developers

    a. We could use CPS funds to incentivize new developers to try out and join the ICON ecosystem. This could be done through affiliate programs for the CPS, well-funded hackathons, hiring contractors, or targeting developer conferences and communities.

  6. Marketing

    a. Community-led marketing initiatives could be funded through the CPS.

I just wanted to start this discussion within our community, so always open to feedback or alternative suggestions!


This is actually the original diagram I made if people like it better. I’m no professional graphic designer though so they’re a bit hard to follow :slight_smile:

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I actually agree with removing the ICX cap and just having a method where the preps who are on CPS can vote to approve a burn of X amount.


I can see the rationale for this but definitely don’t agree and think the timing for this proposal being discussed is poor…disappointed seeing it come from TJ too as I would have thought our main focus should be marketing of BTP and onboarding of blockchains rather than discussing removing of exciting aspects of what BTP could potentially bring in the long term.

One of the key selling points of ICON 2.0 and BTP has been that if BTP ever becomes big enough we could see ICX become deflationary. This is a huge drawing point for investors and has been constantly touched upon by ICONists on social media (whether it be interviews or on Eye on ICON etc.).

Now before BTP has even fully launched we’re discussing removing this burning mechanism completely…in terms of marketing I think it’s a terrible decision to be discussing this with BTP so close to being up and running. If the caps are removed then a ton of the marketing of BTP to date needs to be scrapped…almost anywhere I see BTP marketed I see mention of the significance of burning and what it could mean for the ICON ecosystem. The likes of articles from ICONographer (brilliant write-up; The much anticipated Blockchain Transfer Protocol (BTP) brings good things to both the ICON ecosystem and ICX holders. | Medium) would need to be scrapped and suddenly the narrative would need to change…what strikes me the most is the timing…perhaps if this had been mentioned a few months ago…but literally right before everything starts kicking off…

A ICX treasury cap of 200,000 and bnUSD cap of 200,000 should be loads with where ICON currently stands. I understand that maybe as ICON grows there may be a need for these caps to be increased and would be for this (just not the complete removal of burning).

I however think it’s a very poor decision to implement or be discussing such a change when BTP hasn’t even launched yet; it’s essentially pulling a huge selling point of ICX (that it can eventually be deflationary through BTP).

I think the caps should be monitored and if the ICON ecosystem is growing at a much larger scale then discussions can be initiated to increase the caps. Right now I don’t think the caps need increasing but ultimately I hope they will as the ecosystem grows and more funding is requested through the CPS.

Sorry for the rant on this one but it’s quite frustrating from a community point of view


I’d actually be interested in hearing the likes of @iconographer and @Fezbox 's point of view on all this as I feel they’ve been putting in so much work in spreading the narrative around BTP (as have others; just don’t know their usernames here)

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I like the idea of the minimum inflow. I agree with your philosophy that having a huge treasury is more important than burning, BUT. if ICX is being stored at that rate, it is kind of an indication that the excess ‘inflation’ is not required because that would mean (at a rate of 300k icx going to cps each month), CPS hasn’t been used for over 3 months.
Personally, I would keep the burning model as it is, and I would expect, if the treasury should have more, the community/p-reps would revise to raise the cap in the future. But I wouldn’t remove the cap for now.
Other reasons such as funding coming as more of a free throw and projects taking it as free money because there’s just so much excess funding to throw around worries me too. I think removing the cap will be best only once we have proven, 1) we have a progressive/healthy community around the funding, 2) there is a demand for more in the treasury


None of the replies seem to understand supply and demand. The lesser the funds in the CPS platform the less likely a project will get funding, no matter how good it is, because the voters (my preps included) would have to consider every project and it’s value it’ll bring to the ecosystem with a fine tooth comb. If there was millions in the CPS fund then a lot more projects would get passed without having to worry about emptying the CPS treasury with a couple larger projects. This would allow a lot more initiatives and developers to come and get funding even in the hundreds of thousands that some larger indicatives like government projects or even proper marketing firms would require. Imagine if the CPS fund has 1mil bnusd in it and that was only 25% of the total value of the fund. We could go out and find a marketing firm that does marketing for coca cola because they cost around $1mil. Every asks for marketing but doesn’t think about where the money for said marketing is going to come from. Guess what? It’s going to come from the CPS.


So after reading through this more, I think I am for removing the cap after all. It is true that this has been pitched as a benefit of the CPS/BTP model (burning and managing deflation) and I can see it being confusing changing it now before it’s even really had an impact. However, if you think about it, this system is still functionally no different since the ICX allocated to this fund is still effectively removed from the “circulating supply”. While the tokens are not burned, they are not made available in the market unless to fund a proposal. Obviously the benefit is that we have the option of funding larger initiatives later, especially if the token price rises.


I agree with having a large fund, capable of compensating large projects.
I disagree with not having a maximum cap. Why leave the fund uncapped and just randomly get the P-Reps to decide when to burn and how much to burn? Just a clunky mechanic.
If you think that 1M ICX is too small of a cap to fund projects, then increase it, but don’t remove the cap.
We can’t just have an endless fund with coins collecting dust. If it’s not being put to good use, it should be put towards achieving deflation or marketing via burning announcements.

And if you argue that this point of view is from holders trying to sell their bags… You are undermining the impact of a high ranking in the list.
If ICX was top 20 throughout this year instead of 100, don’t you think there would’ve been many more teams reaching out to create utility? Maybe even without funding?
If you look at it, there are many chains out there that do not provide funding at all, and there are still people building on it just because it’s attractive to build on an active, popular chain.
What’s the point building on a chain that isn’t appealing, besides getting paid to do it?
And I think that great projects start out of passion, not money.
Obviously, money is needed to develop and incentivize innovation, but isn’t the current cap enough for that?

Also, why change something that hasn’t even been launched?
Why not launch, focus on getting BTP operational, gathering projects to adopt BTP and from that point, see what is happening with CPS.

If at that point CPS is reaching the cap too fast, maybe increase it, maybe uncap it or maybe it’s because there’s no Dev interest, but decide only once there is enough evidence indicating a change is required.

For me, this change is premature and too optimistic.
I say optimistic because we don’t know if BTP will be successful at all, if it will even have enough volume to have a significant impact, we don’t know if there will be a strong inflow of CPS proposals, we don’t know the amount of funding they will request.

Conclusion, uncapped fund will either make P-Reps accept bad projects just because the fund is too large (increasing sell pressure) or just have a large fund that doesn’t provide any value (neutral).
Capped fund will ensure the inflation is kept low or negative (decreasing supply), or I suggest putting an overflow on the cap, once the overflow has reached its maximum, burn it, and announce that burn (create marketing while reducing supply).


@ICONfan @GeoDude @Ali @Brandon_FBM @EncryptedPedro - I appreciate you all taking the time to provide your point of views, I would love to continue the discussion!

  1. @ICONfan - When I wrote this post I didn’t have timing in mind, but rather wanted to have a discussion with the community. I would like to reiterate that no changes have been made, I was just providing my thoughts and ideas. Our main focus is still marketing BTP and onboarding of blockchains, and this discussion doesn’t take anything away from that!

This is still true even with what I proposed. One interesting thing that comes from what @EncryptedPedro said is in regards to the marketing of large burns. Wouldn’t it make more sense to burn ICX in large batches for marketing purposes rather than daily?

For instance, say there is no cap to the ICX treasury and it builds to 2 million ICX. Wouldn’t a burn of 1 million ICX be a greater marketing event than the constant small burns that would have occurred otherwise? The same amount of burning would have occurred with both scenarios, but the large burn is likely a greater psychological positive to investors.

Curious on your thoughts about this.

  1. @Ali

Since the CPS is decentralized, we need to rely on P-Reps making decisions that benefit the ICON/ICE network rather than throwing “free money” at projects. Maybe we need to incentivize P-Reps to make high quality decisions or get more game theory involved? Any ideas?

  1. @GeoDude do you think P-Reps would still be selective with proposals even if the treasury were at something like 3 million ICX? Or do you think they would get a bit more lenient and throw money at projects that otherwise might not deserve it?

  2. @Brandon_FBM thanks for noticing the “removal from circulating supply” part haha. While they technically can be reintroduced into the ecosystem, the hope is that P-Reps made a high quality choice by accepting a proposal that will benefit the network.

  3. @EncryptedPedro One point I made earlier is that if the majority of P-Reps all want to see burning, we could see a scenario where no proposals are accepted so that the CPS is always full and all excess inflows are burnt. This could stifle innovation and growth of our network in my opinion. Since it is a decentralized platform this can’t really be controlled either way. Even with my proposal for no cap they could still choose to deny every proposal and then vote to burn the treasury.

This will happen either way! Nothing has been changed, I’m just providing my thoughts.

I think this is a fair point. There are a significant amount of unknowns still, especially when it comes to BTP volume.


I think the fund is big enough - especially given the current rate of funding in the latest round of CPS. We

Would much prefer we see how we go - if there is a bottleneck, we can raise the cap and not remove it. I can’t see this bottleneck now? We don’t have huge volumes of proposals coming through

Let’s keep it as for the time being - and revisit mid way through next year


" 3. @GeoDude do you think P-Reps would still be selective with proposals even if the treasury were at something like 3 million ICX? Or do you think they would get a bit more lenient and throw money at projects that otherwise might not deserve it?"

Firstly I don’t think they would become “stupid” when approving proposals. They’ll still research them and not just auto vote “approve” because there’s more money available.

Secondly even if a proposal manages to get approved and is a malicious proposal they still have to submit progress reports to even get their monthly part of the funding, so if they aren’t showing any progress then they won’t get approved to receive their monthly funding. The system is self protecting and the only way things could go wrong is if literally the large majority of preps decide to screw the system, in which case we’re all screwed anyways so doesn’t really matter at that point.

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This is a very wrong way of thinking, because if there is a bottleneck then current projects may or may not get paid, new devs get dissuaded and never return again because their good project couldn’t get approved because there were no more funds. It’s not a good way to run a funding system that you want to completely utilize to grow a Network.

  1. @EncryptedPedro One point I made earlier is that if the majority of P-Reps all want to see burning, we could see a scenario where no proposals are accepted so that the CPS is always full and all excess inflows are burnt. This could stifle innovation and growth of our network in my opinion. Since it is a decentralized platform this can’t really be controlled either way. Even with my proposal for no cap they could still choose to deny every proposal and then vote to burn the treasury.

Exactly, that’s why leaving these funding decisions to humans is too much hassle. Just set a cap value on the system and leave it running, if the cap needs to be adjusted then a proposal shall come, the system will keep funding good projects and P-Reps don’t have another point of power (deciding burn or no burn).

Down the line if we see that BTP is generating so much volume that CPS keeps getting full, the revenue could be split.

for example:
50% for uncapped CPS, 50% burnt


But is there a bottleneck currently/previously? Do we predict there to be one in the coming future? All I’m saying is let’s adjust is when / if we need to by raising the cap. I can’t see the current bottleneck - things may change with BTP, but let’s see first.

Based on the latest round of CPS funding what are the statistics of funding rates? How do we compare to a comparative chain of our size in terms of funding?

I think a cap also encourages us to use the funding in a timely manner, rather than just let is sit and build up.

And being pragmatic (whether you/others like it or not) people and the market orgasm over a potential deflationary asset and token burns.

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I get the thought process but I think it undermines CPS and the longterm goal of making ICX deflationary.

Instead why not a vote every 6 months to adjust the cap limit? If we reach a point where the CPS pool is limiting innovation due to lack of funding then we can adjust.


If we ever run into a point where the CPS is limiting innovation then we are already screwed and upping it at that point won’t bring back the people that get turned away. We should never end up at a point where we cannot fund some amazing project because you’ll only get one opportunity before someone walks away.

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I understand the feeling of wanting a burn mechanism and wanting deflation on ICX as i too would like to have my holding become scarce and increase in value. This is not to sell but to have confidence in my investment which i feel like the public ICON community really needs at the moment.

however, even with this said, i would much rather like to see the ICON ecosystem grow. I feel that by not burning excess icx sent to the CPS Treasury and and instead increasing the treasury can lead to attracting and bringing in more developers/ project teams.

As a long term investor, I see this more beneficial to growing the ICON ecosystem.

(although… i feel that there’s a lack of marketing of the CPS Treasury to attract developers)


This feels like we are aiming to run before we can even crawl. This should be a simple process. From what I have seen the CPS has not even gotten close to hitting its maximum cap thus far. If we start seeing multiple projects requesting large funds in the future (this is direct evidence) - this cap be reviewed and changed. I believe having a clear and outlined maximum cap is vital for the CPS.

It is best to keep the burn mechanism in place until we at least see how BTP & this new phase of the CPS goes. Getting P-reps to vote on burning at various and or irregular intervals feels clunky and unproductive. An ongoing burn is a real and tangible narrative the community can get behind and will directly impact ICX tokenomics (providing BTP gains traction). Having an unlimited cap with the goal to incentivize developers to build bigger projects on ICON seems like it’s more based on hope than evidence at this stage. I have no issue with raising the maximum cap to a figure the community decides is fair but I am strongly against having no maximum cap and or removing the auto-burn mechanism.


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