What Is a Coin Burn?
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What Is a Coin Burn?

What Is a Coin Burn?

Intermediate
Published Dec 9, 2018Updated Oct 20, 2021
4m

Note: The first section of this article explains the previous burn function of Binance Coin while it was on the Ethereum network. Binance Coin is now on the Binance Chain, so the burn function behaves differently. However, the discussion still applies to all current ERC-20 tokens that support the burn function.


Coin burning is the process of permanently removing cryptocurrencies from circulation, reducing the total supply. To explain how this works, we will be using Binance Coin (the old BNB ERC-20) as an example. The previous contract for BNB, while it was on the Ethereum network, can be found here.
When the Binance Coin was still part of the Ethereum network, Binance performed periodic Coin Burn events using a smart contract function known as burn function. The BNB burning events are scheduled to occur every quarter until 100,000,000 BNB are finally destroyed, which represents 50% of the total BNB ever issued (200,000,000 BNB).

The amount of BNB coins to be burned is based on the number of trades performed on the exchange within a 3-months period. So after each quarter, Binance burns BNB according to the overall trading volume.

However, it seems that a considerable amount of people still fail to understand how Coin Burns are executed. The present article aims to provide relevant information in regards to the burn function and the quarterly BNB Coin Burn events.


How does it work?

Basically speaking, a token burn event happens in the following order:

  1. A cryptocurrency holder will call the burn function, stating that they want to burn a nominated amount of coins.
  2. The smart contract will then verify that the person has the coins in their wallet and that the number of coins stated is valid. The burning mechanism only allows positive numbers.

  3. If the person doesn’t have enough coins, or if the stated number is invalid (e.g., 0 or -5), the burn function won’t be executed.

  4. If they do have enough, then the coins will be subtracted from that wallet. The total supply of that coin will then be updated, meaning that the coins were permanently burned.

If you execute the burn function to burn your coins, they will be destroyed forever. It's impossible to recover coins after they are burned, and thanks to blockchain technology, the proof of burn can be easily verified on a blockchain explorer.


In other words, the BNB contract has a function known as burn function, which is available to anyone, at any time. By calling this function one can permanently remove a nominated amount of coins from the circulating supply. All coin burns are recorded as a transaction on the blockchain, meaning that they are 100% transparent and anyone is able to verify that the coins have been destroyed.
As soon as a quarterly Coin Burn takes place, Binance makes an official announcement that specifies the amount of BNB coins that were burned (based on the trading volume for that quarter). You can verify all BNB ERC-20 Coin Burn transactions on an Ethereum blockchain explorer, such as Etherscan. The burning transactions are public, irreversible and permanently recorded on the blockchain.
On Etherscan, you can see the details about a burning transaction on the Input Data box.


If you click Decode Input Data, you can check the amount of BNB that was burned. The number includes the 18 decimals, so in this example, 1,623,818 BNB were burned.


The current Binance Burn function

Since the launch of the Binance Chain, the BNB ERC-20 tokens were gradually swapped by the native Binance Coins (BNB BEP-2). This means that the Coin Burn events now take place on the Binance Chain and not on the Ethereum network.
It’s worth noting that all BNB ERC-20 coin burns were “replicated” on the Binance Chain to ensure that the total supply is the same. As such, the 11,654,397 BNB ERC-20 tokens that were previously burned on the Ethereum network were also burned on the Binance Chain (right after the mainnet launch). You can check this specific burning transaction on the Binance Chain Explorer. You can also check the total supply of BNB.
The current BNB coin burn mechanism doesn’t rely on a smart contract anymore but on a specific command executed on the Binance Chain. You can find more details on the Binance Chain Docs page.

As of October 2021, Binance completed 17 BNB Coin Burn events. In total, 33,199,679 BNB coins were burned, reducing 16.59% of the Total Supply (now at 166,801,147 BNB).

Coin Burn

BNB Burned

Approx. BNB Price

Approx. USD Value

% of Total Supply

#1 (Oct 2017)

986,000

$1.52

$1,500,000

0.49%

#2 (Jan 2018)

1,821,586

$21.96

$40,000,000

0.91%

#3 (Apr 2018)

2,220,314

$13.52

$30,000,000

1.11%

#4 (Jul 2018)

2,528,767

$12.93

$32,700,000

1.26%

#5 (Oct 2018)

1,643,986

$10.34

$17,000,000

0.82%

1,623,818

$5.83

$9,400,000

0.81%

#7 (Apr 2019)

829,888

$18.79

$15,600,000

0.41%

#8 (July 2019)

808,888

$29.47

$23,800,000

0.40%

#9 (Oct 2019)

2,061,888

$17.80

$36,700,000

1.03%

#10 (Jan 2020)

2,216,888

$17.50

$38,800,000

1.11%

#11 (April 2020)

3,373,988

$15.55

$52,466,000

1.69%

#12 (July 2020)

3,477,388

$17.40

$60,500,000

1.74%

#13 (Oct 2020)

2,253,888

$30.17

$68,000,000

1.13%

#14 (Jan 2021)

3,619,888

$45.80

$165,791,000

1.81%

#15 (Apr 2021)

1,099,888

$541.25

$595,314,380

0.55%

#16 (Jul 2021)

1,296,728

$303.59

$393,673,653

0.65%

#17 (Oct 2021)

1,335,888

$478.68

$639,462,868

0.66%

TOTAL

33,199,679

-

$2,220,707,902

16.59%

BNB Destruction History (Quarterly Coin Burn).