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You Can't Buy Steam Games With Bitcoin Anymore

7 December 2017, 9:10 am EST By Vincent Lanaria Tech Times
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How cryptocurrency is changing the world

Valve no longer allows users to purchase games on Steam with Bitcoin.

The company says it's because the cryptocurrency comes with high transaction fees and fluctuates in value.

Steam Stops Accepting Bitcoin

Back in April 2016, Valve flipped the switch and gave users the option to buy games on Steam with Bitcoin.

Fast-forward to December, it's pulling the plug on the whole deal, saying that an "increase in the volatility in the value of Bitcoin" and an "increase in the fees to process transactions on the Bitcoin network" are the main reasons it's shutting it off.

Just to be clear, the transaction cost started out at about $0.20, and now it shot up all the way to $20.

"Valve has no control over the amount of the fee. These fees result in unreasonably high costs for purchasing games when paying with Bitcoin. The high transaction fees cause even greater problems when the value of Bitcoin itself drops dramatically," the Steam Team writes.

'Volatility' Explained

By nature, Bitcoin has never been exactly stable. At the time of this writing, the virtual currency's value is at $13,300, but it has also taken big dips. According to Valve, it dropped by 25 percent in value "over a period of days."

That said, a volatile currency like that will prove to be a problem for purchases on Steam.

For instance, when a user tries to check out a game with Bitcoin, there's only a certain amount of time the value is guaranteed. If the transaction wasn't completed during it, then the buyer will need to shoulder the difference and fork over more of the digital cash than first expected.

In the event that it does happen, two payments will be made, meaning that the Bitcoin Network will charge the transaction fee twice, which could potentially cost $40 all in all excluding the game being purchased. Even then, there's no assurance the user won't be underpaying again, hypothetically pushing the transaction cost to $60 and so on. The other option is to simply get a refund.

Despite the current state of things, Valve does say that Bitcoin isn't completely out of the picture. In the future when the cryptocurrency "makes sense" for Steam, the company might bring back support for it.

For the record, there's no word on whether or not Valve will accept other digital currencies such as Ethereum, and in light of what has happened with Bitcoin, there might not be any anytime soon.

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