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Newell: Half of Steam Bitcoin transactions were "fraudulent"

Newell: Half of Steam Bitcoin transactions were "fraudulent"

The founder of PC giant Valve Gabe Newell has said that half of transactions paid with Bitcoin were fraudulent.

Speaking to PC Gamer, the industry vet said that when consumers could use this payment method on Steam, the company saw a huge amount of fraud. This resulted in Valve no longer accepting Bitcoin on its platform back in December 2017.

"The problem is that a lot of the actors who are in that space are not people you want interacting with your customers," Newell said.

"We had problems when we started accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment option. 50 per cent of those transactions were fraudulent, which is a mind-boggling number. These were customers we didn't want to have."

Newell does admit that blockchain technology is a potentially interesting technology, but goes on to say that there are few actual useful applications to date.

"There's a lot of really interesting technology in blockchains and figuring out how to do a distributed ledger, [but] I think that people haven't figured out why you actually need a distributed ledger," he said.

"There's a difference between what it should be and what it really is currently in the real world. And that's sort of where we were at with the blockchain-based NFT stuff: so much of it was ripping customers off. And we were like, 'Yeah, that's not what we want to do, we don't want to enable screwing large numbers of our customers over,' so that's what drove that decision. There's nothing inherently about distributed ledgers that makes them problematic. It's just so far that's almost always what our experience has been."

Since it stopped accepting Bitcoin as a payment method, Valve has also put a ban on games involving blockchains and NFTs on its platform.


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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