Citing Fears Of Instability, Steam Ceases Taking Payments in Bitcoins
As Bitcoin’s value rises, it makes sense that we would some more and more vendors start to accept the currency. However, PC gaming’s biggest digital storefront, Steam, has announced that it will no longer be accepting the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin has been controversial for some time. The two biggest are due to the high amount of energy used in the mining process and the fact that is often used by criminal elements on the dark web. However, Steam’s concerns are more economic and have to do with the volatility of the currency. In his blog on the topic, Steam engineer Kurtis Chin discussed the high transaction fees associated with Bitcoin and the fact that Steam has no control over them making it an expensive medium for customers and Steam.
“In the past few months we’ve seen an increase in the volatility in the value of Bitcoin and a significant increase in the fees to process transactions on the Bitcoin network,” Chin wrote. “For example, transaction fees that are charged to the customer by the Bitcoin network have skyrocketed this year, topping out at close to $20 a transaction last week (compared to roughly $0.20 when we initially enabled Bitcoin).”
Chin noted that Bitcoin could lose as much as 25 percent of its value in a matter of days. This resulted in a situation where Steam either had to refund purchasers who paid too much or those who paid too little things to the fluctuations in the coin’s value. He noted that in both of these scenarios, the customer is forced to pay the Bitcoin transaction fee multiple times making it more expensive for consumers to buy video games.
“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.”
Due to these reasons, Steam has decided that Bitcoin will no longer be accepted on Steam. However, he did say that Valve might reexamine things at a later date.
Eric is an avid tech junkie, gamer, and comic fan. When he's not working on his PC, you'll find him at your local comic book shop.