Valve will no longer be accepting Bitcoin payments on Steam, due to the cryptocurrency’s volatility and high transaction fees. Today’s statement says Valve have been monitoring Bitcoin’s value over the past few months, and have noted skyrocketing transaction costs.
When Steam initially began accepting payments in Bitcoin, those fees were around $0.20 USD. Now, they can be as high as $20.00 USD. It’s pretty straightforward to see why that would be undesirable in your average videogame purchase.
The fee problem is compounded by the volatile fluctuations in currency value. In Valve’s example, somebody transfers X amount of Bitcoins and Y amount for the transaction fees, only for the value to have changed (perhaps quite substantially) by the time the transaction takes place. In those circumstances, the normal process is for Valve to refund the purchase or request additional funds.
Each of these methods incurs another transaction fee. Not such a big deal when it’s 20 cents. Rather more debilitating if it’s 20 dollars. Valve add they will “continue working to resolve any pending issues for customers who are impacted by existing underpayments or transaction fees.”
For the near future, Valve consider Bitcoin to be “untenable” as a payment option. They state that they may revisit the currency at a later date. There’s no indication whether or not they would be open to one of the other cryptocurrencies out there.