Valve is ending support for Steam purchases in Bitcoin

Citing volatile value, Steam drops Bitcoin support

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).

"Unfortunately, Valve has no control over the amount of the fee", Steam said. The company cited the volatility in the value of the digital currency and high fees as the main reasons why it dropped support for Bitcoin.

The statement announcing the decision reads, in part, "At this point, it has become untenable to support Bitcoin as a payment option".

For example, Valve says that the transaction fee was roughly $0.20 when it started supporting Bitcoin as a payment option on Steam. However, the Bitcoin Cash fork, which was created in August and allows for a greater volume of transactions, could give us a glimpse into whether these concerns are merited.

"The amount it can change has been increasing recently to a point where it can be significantly different", the game distributor said. 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".

Steam's resolutions to this, refunding the payment or asking for a transfer of additional funds, incurs network transaction fee which comes in addition to the base transaction fee. With the constantly changing price of Bitcoin, the usual method of adding more funds to cover the cost of a game or getting a full refund won't work because of the high fees. "This year, we've seen increasing number of customers get into this state".

For instance, Steam said that bitcoin transaction fees have "skyrocketed this year". Valve says that the company may "re-evaluate whether Bitcoin makes sense for us and for the Steam community at a later date [,]" but now Valve is mostly trying to resolve pending issues with customers impacted by Bitcoins' flux. The solution, then, is to either refund the purchase or ask users to pay the difference in Bitcoin, both of which incur more transaction fees.

The service said it is "working to resolve any pending issues for customers who are impacted by existing underpayments or transaction fees", and that it may accept bitcoin at a later date.

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