Steam ends support for bitcoin

Steam ends support for bitcoin

The cryptocurrency's surge seems to have made it too volatile and expensive for the platform to continue to accept it, as Valve announced on Wednesday it will no longer accept bitcoin payments. Those fees are never more than a couple of bucks. 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).

True, the price of Bitcoin has generally followed an upward curve over the past few months, but that on its own is not a reason good enough for Valve to keep the cryptocurrency.

The value of bitcoin has seen a tremendous rise recently, with it even going past $12,000 today.

"Unfortunately, Valve has no control over the amount of the fee", wrote Chinn.

Even if the value of bitcoin were to go up while the user completes the transaction, and Steam has to refund the difference to the user, the transaction fee must be paid by the user again for the refund. Bitcoin has gone from less than $1000 United States dollars to over $13,000 in 2017, and investment interest is high. But it is not a steady ascent.

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Valve said that the degree of volatility in bitcoin value "has become extreme in the last few months, losing as much as 25% in value over a period of days". "This creates a problem for customers trying to purchase games with Bitcoin". That stalls growth in the number of bitcoins that exist, but as the value of those bitcoins has skyrocketed miners are devoting more and more computational resources to compete for new coins, requiring huge amounts of electricity and time.

For example, transactions can often get bottlenecked, so some users have suggested expanding the network's capacity.

The issue is that the Bitcoin price of a game can experience significant changes in merely a matter of minutes.

"The normal resolution for this is to either refund the original payment to the user, or ask the user to transfer additional funds to cover the remaining balance", Valve remarked on this conundrum.

Valve's decision comes as crypto-cash mining market NiceHash reported a "security breach" had meant hackers had accessed its Bitcoin wallet, which had contained about $60m in bitcoins. "We may re-evaluate whether Bitcoin makes sense for us and for the Steam community at a later date".

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