Steam drops bitcoin citing $20 transaction fees

Citing volatile value, Steam drops Bitcoin support

Valve drops Bitcoin as a Steam payment option

A year ago, it cost a mere $0.20 to process transaction fees for Bitcoin payments, but due to the digital currency's surging value, those fees can now reach as high as $20, according to Steam. Regarding the fees, Valve pointed out that the transaction fee charged to the customer using Bitcoin rose from 20 cents when Valve started accepting it to nearly $20 today. Unfortunately, Valve has no control over the amount of the fee. 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). Not only that, but there was an increase in the fees to process transactions on the Bitcoin network.

Valve said the recent dips and spikes in Bitcoin were signs that the "degree of volatility has become extreme".

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The reason for this is inherent to the way the Bitcoin protocol works; the number of bitcoins is controlled by having computers generate them via so-called "mining" operations, which are essentially complicated math problems. 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. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that recently spiked in value, with one Bitcoin being valued at about $10,000. Fees have skyrocketed since the beginning of the year. In addition, the volatility of Bitcoin can also adversely affect the platform's own revenue if the price of Bitcoin suddenly drops.

In October, Vietnam banned cryptocurrency payments, with the State Bank of Vietnam declaring Bitcoin was not a legal payment method from the start of next year. Crypto Vouchers now only support Bitcoin, but support for other cryptocurrencies is planned in the future, including Etherum and Litecoin. In both cases the once-negligible transaction fees would be at the customers' expense.

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The company said that it may revisit its decision in future, but at the present time it is "untenable" to support it as a payment option.

Valve has not announced if they will ever allow the use of cryptocurrencies on Steam again, but for now users should plan alternative options for payment if they were only using Bitcoin.

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We will continue working to resolve any pending issues for customers who are impacted by existing underpayments or transaction fees.

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