Gaming platform Steam drops Bitcoin payments

The uncertainty of the value of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency has lead PC gaming platform Steam to drop it as a payment method.

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Valve Steam Bitcoin
The uncertainty surrounding the value of Bitcoin has lead PC gaming giant Valve to drop its use on their gaming platform Steam. Photo: Adrian Today, Bigstock

PC gaming giant Valve has announced that Bitcoin will no longer be accepted as a form of payment on its Steam service. The unsteadily rising value of the cryptocurrency has lead Steam to believe it is too volatile for it to support as a payment method.

As little as a year ago it only cost 20 cents in transaction fees for payments made with Bitcoin. Due to the surging value of Bitcoin those transaction fees have no reached levels as high as 20 USD.

Steam stated on its blog that it was no longer reasonable to continue supporting Bitcoin as a payment method. The post noted that the value of individual bitcoins had surged to $14,000. The value of a bitcoin was only $450 when Steam first offered it as a payment option in April 2016.

The Bitcoin network has full control over establishing the transaction fees for Bitcoin payments and Steam cited this as one reason why it would no longer support them.

Steam said the problem with using Bitcoin was the transactional value of the cryptocurrency would only remain static for a fixed amount of time. This meant that if a transaction did not complete within that amount of time users were subjected to a price change that could be significant.

The original solution to this problem was to offer refunds to users who had paid too much or ask customers to pay the difference if Bitcoin value had sunk too low. Steam has since said this strategy is no longer viable as the value of Bitcoin skyrockets.

Just in the last week the value of Bitcoin has increase over $4000 from where it was.

Bitpay, the service used by Steam to process Bitcoin payments said it was disappointed they could no longer work with the gaming service. Bitpay noted that the Bitcoin “blockchain”, being a constantly updated and highly congested would cause delays in transactions that would alter the cost of purchases for users.

With Bitcoin payment services being slow to carry out transaction it has created a layer of uncertainty and complication that Steam simply does not want to subject customers to. Services like Bitpay and other Bitcoin wallets are attempting to streamline their transaction process to make it more reliable.

Steam stated that it would possibly re-consider its decision regarding Bitcoin payments if the issues about the cryptocurrencies’ “high fees and volatility” could be resolved.

Many analysts predict that despite its booming value, Bitcoin is a bubble that will soon burst.