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There are actually two issues:

  1. I think it would be great to be able to award a bounty in any amount for an existing answer (to be awarded immediately, never actually going on the list of open bounties).
  2. I can understand why the amount of other bounties must be at least 50, but why must they come in increments of 50? Why not allow arbitrary bounties of at least 50 rep?
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  • $\begingroup$ For point 1, see this meta.SO thread. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Jun 22 '13 at 3:14
  • $\begingroup$ @J.M., I haven't been able to find what in that thread you might be referring to. Could you explain what answer/comment you are referring to? $\endgroup$ – dfeuer Jun 22 '13 at 3:21
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    $\begingroup$ Alright, I suppose you'll want to see this or this, then... $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Jun 22 '13 at 3:31
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, mostly I'm seeing that the system is limited, and it annoys people, and the ways to adjust it without actually having to change other code at all have downsides, and therefore it will never happen. Not an ideal situation. $\endgroup$ – dfeuer Jun 22 '13 at 3:43
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    $\begingroup$ The reason for not allowing arbitrary bounties of at least 50 is that some wiseguy will try to give $100\pi$. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jun 22 '13 at 4:37
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Everything on StackExchange is rate-limited: asking questions, posting answers, commenting, chatting, starring, voting, editing, closing, deleting, etc. See The Complete Rate-Limiting Guide and blog post with rationale.

I think it would be great to be able to award a bounty in any amount for an existing answer (to be awarded immediately

Maybe it would also be great to be able to withdraw an arbitrary amount from ATM immediately. Then again, maybe there's a good reason why I can't do that.

Consider the potential for abuse. Should new users get immediate access to moderator tools, if they are buddies with an existing high rep user? Or, should a disgruntled $15$K rep user be able to instantly give $5$ new accounts the ability to close questions? And so on.

why must they come in increments of 50?

Why not? Is there a situation where the bounty of $200$ is too small, $250$ is too big, but $237$ is just right? Allowing arbitrary amounts would require users to key in the value of bounty, which is less convenient and more error-prone.

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    $\begingroup$ To further carry the ATM analogy: the ATM won't spit out coins, and there are times that the ATM will only allow you to withdraw in particular multiples. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Jun 22 '13 at 12:05

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