Citing volatile value, Steam drops Bitcoin support

Citing volatile value, Steam drops Bitcoin support

Top online game distribution platform Steam will no longer accept Bitcoin as a payment method, announced game company and distributor Valve via blog post today. With the transaction fee being so high right now, it is not feasible to refund or ask the customer to transfer the missing balance (which itself runs the risk of underpayment again, depending on how much the value of Bitcoin changes while the Bitcoin network processes the additional transfer). With Valve unable to control these blockchain-linked costs (passed on from third-party Bitpay), the company anxious that it was leading to "unreasonably high costs for purchasing games when paying with Bitcoin" (though apparently these are costs Bitcoin users as a whole have been willing to shoulder of late).

When a Steam customer paid with Bitcoin, they would transfer a certain amount for the cost of the game and then another amount to cover the fee. The post elaborated by saying that, "In the past few months [Valve's] seen an increase in the volatility of the value of Bitcoin and a significant increase in the fees to process transactions on the Bitcoin network". As the statement on Steam notes, Bitcoin's value is only guaranteed for a fleeting amount of time, and if a particular sale isn't completed during that time, the price of an item in Bitcoin can drastically change. Steam cites "skyrocketing" transaction fees that have closed in on $20 a purchase, in comparison to the $0.20 when the service was offered originally.

Regarding the volatility (Bitcoin stands at around $13,000 United States dollars today but it fluctuates significantly and often), Valve said this is problematic in part because Bitcoin's value is only guaranteed for a set period of time.

Steam has been an early adopter of Bitcoin, following a partnership between Valve and Bitpay in April 2016 to integrate Bitcoin into Steam. "The amount it can change has been increasing recently to a point where it can be significantly different", Valve said.

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For instance, Steam said that bitcoin transaction fees have "skyrocketed this year".

Steam described how the rapid rise and fall of Bitcoin versus the U.S. dollar has impacted users trying to buy games with the cryptocurrency.

Valve said the recent dips and spikes in Bitcoin were signs that the "degree of volatility has become extreme".

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