Steam is no longer accepting bitcoin as a payment method, game company and distributor Valve announced today. The company is attributing its decision to cryptocurrency’s “high fees and volatility.” In a blog post, Valve explained that bitcoin transaction fees have gone up to nearly $20 per transaction last week, “compared to roughly $0.20 when we initially enabled Bitcoin.” Those fees then have to be shouldered by gamers making purchases on Steam, and the total cost to consumers could be even higher if the value of bitcoin dips in the meantime.
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. “This year, we’ve seen increasing number[s] of customers get into this state,” the post states. There’s even the scenario, Valve explains, that as the user or Steam tries to cover the difference in value, the value of bitcoin then changes again, causing more problems.
Steam says it could reconsider this decision to remove bitcoin as a payment option in the future, if the currency finds more stability, but for now it’s just working with any customers who are still dealing with underpayments or transaction fees. Just last week, the value of bitcoin skyrocketed past $10,000, marking a 933 percent increase since January of this year. Other governments in China, South Korea, Russia, and elsewhere around the world have taken a more stern look at cryptocurrency and implemented regulations or outright bans.