Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Tech | By Dwayne Harmon

Steam no longer supports Bitcoin as a payment method

Steam no longer supports Bitcoin as a payment method

Retailers are quickly integrating support for the currencies into their checkout options, but Steam is the first high-profile company to back away from the volatility in this sphere.

At present, however, Steam is focusing on working with customers to resolve any pending issues related to underpayments or transaction fees.

Bitcoin's wild volatility may be attractive to thrill-seeking investors, but it can be problematic for customers trying to purchase games on the Steam platform.

In just the last few days, we have seen an nearly $3,000 spike in the value of Bitcoin with it now just under $15,000. After giving customers a payment time window of several hours for their transaction to confirm on the Bitcoin blockchain, the value of the coin could have already significantly changed. The decision is "due to high fees and volatility in the value of Bitcoin". When Steam started accepting Bitcoin the exchange fee was about 20 cents.

As a result, Valve said support for Bitcoin has become "untenable", but it said it might reevaluate the cryptocurrency's fit into its business at a later date.

Bitcoin, like rivals Litecoin and Ethereum, is a form of currency produced and used over the internet. At the time, the decision to take bitcoin was positioned as a way to serve emerging markets where payment options like credit cards may not be widely available.

Second, the volatility of bitcoin makes it hard to be certain that you're receiving good value. Besides, very few people user Bitcoin for everyday transactions because of the very slow processing speeds and high fees involved per transaction. Bundle that with slower transaction times and the risk of having a purchase fall through only as the price is increasing, and it becomes a problem for Steam's current infrastructure. 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. Proposals for Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash have appeared in the comments section of the announcement, although Valve does not appear to be considering replacing Bitcoin with anything at this moment.

The other major reason that made Valve remove Bitcoin from its list of available payment methods was the rapidly fluctuating value of the cryptocurrency.

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