ICON just made a raft of announcements on Medium covering everything from plans to better police their social media community, to the relationship between ICON Foundation and ICONLOOP.

The end of the article addresses one of the items that many in the community have been clamoring for information about: The ICX Repurchase Program.

We apologize for the delayed response in addressing this community concern. Over the past several weeks, we have consulted with legal advisors regarding our previously announced ICX repurchase program. Unfortunately, based on their advice, we cannot provide ongoing details given potential risks related to price manipulation, among other factors.

But what do we already know about the repurchase program, and what educated guesses can we make based on previous cases?

The program was first announced back on August 7th and will be used to repurchase up to $5 million worth of ICX.

The ICON Foundation council members have unanimously approved its first ICX repurchase program. The new ICX repurchase program authorizes the foundation to repurchase up to $5 million of currently circulating ICX…

Repurchases under the foundation’s program will be made in open market or privately negotiated transactions subject to market conditions, applicable legal requirements, and other relevant factors.

We do not know the exact timeline, how the repurchase will take place, or even if it will reach the full $5 million cap, but we can make some guesses.

The announcement is very similar to what we’ve seen from other tokens. Most of those buybacks take place over a 12 month period.

Take this announcement from CPChain, for example

CPChain is pleased to announce that over the following 12 months, we will buyback up to 50 million CPC tokens from major exchanges, accounting for 13 percent of the total tokens issued. The buyback program will allow the CPC token to retain value by being removed from current market conditions. The program also demonstrates the company’s commitment to increase value for CPC token holders.

 ICON is not alone in being secretive about its buyback program.

Cosmochain was more verbose in explaining its buyback but the actual amount information provided is similar to ICON:

According to the announced plan, the total buyback of COSM will be equivalent to 2,250 ETH. The program will begin sometime between September 3 and 7 with the end date to be determined. The price of buyback will be announced 24 hours before the program begins. As for the method, buyback will be executed directly through exchanges including CPDAX, CoinBene, and HitBTC, regardless of trading pair. Further announcements regarding remaining tokens will be made after the 1st buyback executed on September 3rd — 7th.

Huobi has made buybacks a part of their token economy from the start, so they provide more information, but this only comes quarterly and after the token buyback closes. (See here for an example.)

While we don’t have word directly from ICON themselves on their plans, we can put together a few educated guesses:

  • During its ICX token sale, ICON Foundation sold 50% of their 800 million tokens, raising 150,000 ETH. This was worth $42 million at the time, $214 million at ether’s peak, and about $26 million now. :’-(
  • If anyone knew the exact timing of the buyback, it would be akin to insider trading on corporate stocks. They could buy in at the exact right moment and reap huge rewards.
  • This is because $5 million represents a significant percentage of the ICX circulating supply.
  • Given the 12-month timeline they’ve (probably) adopted, it’s likely ICON are trying to play by the same rules as a stock repurchase, once again, to avoid insider trading.
  • This means that they’ve likely (we CANNOT confirm this) hired an outside custodian to oversee the ICX buyback.
  • If that’s the case, the repurchase could already be well underway.
  • It’s also unlikely that we’ll hear any official word from ICON until the repurchase program is complete.