This is just a short (kind of boring) story about how I got a 2.65b isk bounty on Sven, with an added 120m on the corporation (of which he is the sole member). It is a silly system. But, I also want to suggest some reasons why bounties on players are not always a complete waste of isk, contrary to popular opinion.
The first "big bounty" came a few years ago. I was briefly trying out faction warfare in high security space, something I've never really talked about but netted me a gross amount of exhumer, faction battleship, and marauder kills just solo roaming in a beefy ship. One juicy target was a mission runner in an opposing faction doing HS lvl 4 missions in a Vargur. I destroyed the Vargur, and found myself with a 1,00237,851 isk bounty or something similarly specific. I haven't seen the player online, and he never replied to my (attempted) friendly messages. My guess is, he just dumped all of his remaining isk on my head and called it quits. I feel a bit bad about it.
Fast forward two years. From my frequent deaths as a solo PVPer, I have this bounty down to 600m (it occasionally gets some additional bounties from miners or players otherwise unhappy to have gotten blown up). I thought I might even burn through the bounty eventually.
However, a few of the inactive POSes I have destroyed were not completely inactive. The owners came back to EVE, or were just away for a week. Some of the owners--coming back to a destroyed and ransacked POS--sent me a message or started a conversation. Surprisingly, all of them have been cool cats. They were interested in how I found the POS, what I looted, and so on, and not upset. I express my sympathies (my goal isn't to grief players, after all). When a POS goes inactive--anywhere--it is only a matter of time before players come poking at it, and if it weren't me it would be another group probably only days later.
But one more recent group was apparently not too happy. They were doing primarily t2 research and production on small, new ships, like command destroyers. The POS modules destroyed were only worth a few hundred million, and the loot and BPCs dropped were not much more expensive--they were valuable more for being time consuming to make. The corp mates eventually came back online, and put two 1b isk bounties on my head. So now I sit at 2.6b isk.
Don't get me wrong, bounties are not a great use for isk in any case. But, I don't think they are completely useless--such as when putting bounties on a player like myself, a player who regularly dies. I lose a lot of ships. If a player wants the psychological satisfaction of getting updates in game whenever I or anyone else dies, they can put small bounties on the player and receive the notifications. But say you want to reward the people who kill me or players like me. I'm losing 20 or more ships a month, 500m isk total or much more. Putting a large bounty on a player like me is a way of tipping the people who kill me. If a solo player kills a typical pirate frigate I fly, they receive something like 15m isk. Hey, that's not bad! It would buy a new slicer hull for instance. If I play long enough to lose all 2.6b isk, all of that isk is a tip divided among my killers. That's a neat system, if you think about it, and it is not a great use of isk, but it does make a small statement, something like "I dislike you/your actions enough to tip the people who will kill you in the future."