Hard Cap: What Is It?
A hard cap is a restriction put in place by the blockchain's code on the maximum amount of units that can ever be created or circulated for a specific cryptocurrency. It is generally accepted that it has a good effect since it makes things scarce, which raises the value of each token. A cryptocurrency must modify its fundamental properties and produce a new cryptocurrency in order to get around this restriction.
A hard cap is a variable that the project's community and cryptocurrency analytics websites closely watch. It can be changed by malicious action (provision in the code for extra minting for illicit gains and extraction of most value by gaining "extra tokens"), programming errors (like the infamous Bitcoin 184M inflation bug, which broke the 21M limit before being fixed), developer fixes in exceptional circumstances, and other means.
Due in large part to its low hard cap of 30,000 tokens, Yearn Finance's YFI governance token skyrocketed to over $40,000 in value in 2020. Meanwhile, the MEME token, which was initially designed as satire on the DeFi and non-fungible token (NFT) industry, skyrocketed in value due to an airdrop and its even lower cap of only 28,000 tokens.