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Steam ditches Bitcoin as payment method

Steam ditches Bitcoin as payment method

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain may be the buzz words of the moment but Valve has just announced that it will no longer be supporting Bitcoin.

In a post on its website, the firm said that this is due to the volatile nature of the cryptocurrency, as well as the skyrocketing of transaction fees. Steam says that transaction costs have come in at close to $20 last week, as opposed to the $0.20 when the storefront started accepting the digital currency.

Valve says that it will keep an eye on Bitcoin and see whether this is a viable payment method in the future.

"Historically, the value of Bitcoin has been volatile, but the degree of volatility has become extreme in the last few months, losing as much as 25% in value over a period of days," the team wrote.

"This creates a problem for customers trying to purchase games with Bitcoin. When checking out on Steam, a customer will transfer x amount of Bitcoin for the cost of the game, plus y amount of Bitcoin to cover the transaction fee charged by the Bitcoin network. The value of Bitcoin is only guaranteed for a certain period of time so if the transaction doesn’t complete within that window of time, then the amount of Bitcoin needed to cover the transaction can change. The amount it can change has been increasing recently to a point where it can be significantly different.

"The normal resolution for this is to either refund the original payment to the user, or ask the user to transfer additional funds to cover the remaining balance. In both these cases, the user is hit with the Bitcoin network transaction fee again. This year, we’ve seen increasing number of customers get into this state. 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).

"At this point, it has become untenable to support Bitcoin as a payment option. We may re-evaluate whether Bitcoin makes sense for us and for the Steam community at a later date."


PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site PCGamesInsider.biz. In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for GamesIndustry.biz, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.

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