Valve and Steam Cease Accepting Bitcoin as Payment

    News and Updates

    If you are a gamer, there is no doubt that you have heard of the gaming software giant Valve. Even if you are unfamiliar with Valve, you have probably heard of the Steam platform that exists thanks to Valve. For those unfamiliar altogether, you will do well to know that Valve and, by extension, Steam have recently announced that they will stop accepting Bitcoin as a payment method for games, devices, and software.

    With almost 100 million people in Valve’s network, this is pretty big news, especially when you consider that Steam was very excited about utilizing Bitcoin back in Spring of 2016. Unfortunately for Steam users, however, a lot has changed between April of 2016, when Bitcoin was trading for less than $1,000, and now. With the price of Bitcoin having far exceeded what it was well over a year ago, things have changed and the once easy, stress-free payment method is anything but that.

    Fees, Volatility, and Transaction Issues

    The reason Steam parted ways with Bitcoin as an accepted method of payment on their platform is actually multifaceted, as it did not boil down to one simple issue. As these types of things typically go, fees did play a role in Steam’s decision, however not in the way you might be thinking.

    Sure, fees did grow from a modest $0.20 in the beginning to more than $20 in recent weeks, but that was not such a major factor because many of Steam’s users seemed to use Bitcoin whether the fees were small or large. Despite this, Steam did not want to offer a payment method that had such egregious fees, and that—rather than outcry from users—is what helped fuel Steam’s decision.

    Tying into this is the overall volatility of Bitcoin as a currency. As we have seen in recent weeks, the price of Bitcoin can change at a rapid rate, something that will inevitably inconvenience the user and/or Steam.

    In the time it takes to process the transaction—something that has become a problem in and of itself—the price of Bitcoin may have risen or fallen, breeding a situation where someone, for example, might have paid $3,000 for an item that might later be worth only $2,500. Refunds and additional payment requests are a viable option, but with fees being what they are, each additional transaction sees more money lost.

    The combination of these two factors, plus the fact that a limited number of people utilize Bitcoin transactions regularly makes for a situation, in Steam’s eyes, where accepting Bitcoin as payment is more complicated than its worth. They left the door open to accepting Bitcoin in the future, but said that they will “reevaluate whether Bitcoin makes sense” to them in the future. Of course, before that happens there will need to be a lot of changes made to the functionality of Bitcoin within today’s complex financial world.

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