PC game and software platform Steam, stops accepting payments in bitcoins blaming price fluctuations and rapid volatility of transactions fees.
Steam, the world’s single largest digital distribution platform for PC games and software, has announced that it is no longer accepting Bitcoin as a payment method.
In a blog post, the company claimed that the digital cryptocurrency’s fees have become too high for it to be accepted by the company as they have begun to lead to “unreasonably high costs for purchasing games with bitcoin”.
Turning off the Valve
“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. The amount it can change has been increasing recently to a point where it can be significantly different…
“In the past few months we’ve seen an increase in the volatility in the value of Bitcoin and a significant increase in the fees to process transactions on the Bitcoin network. For example, transaction fees that are charged to the customer by the Bitcoin network have skyrocketed this year, topping out at close to $20 a transaction last week (compared to roughly $0.20 when we initially enabled Bitcoin). Unfortunately, Valve has no control over the amount of the fee.”
The news has come as a blow, if temporary, to proponents of Bitcoin who see the currency as a viable alternative to established fiat currencies, such as Sterling or US dollars. Steam currently has an active user base of over 275 million users.
Valve originally started accepting Bitcoin as a payment method in April of 2016. Back then, it made sense. Transactions were generally relatively quick, and actual transaction fees were as low as $0.20 cents. Of course, at the same time, an individual Bitcoin was trading at around $450, and not the Coinbase value of $15,345.50 it is at the exact time of writing.
While sales for PC games directly through Steam were worth around $3.47 billion dollars last year, it isn’t known how much of these were Bitcoin related.
Steam has said that if the price of Bitcoin settles down in the future, it would consider accepting the currency again.