Amidst Bitcoin’s biggest value explosion in the cryptocurrency’s short history, Valve has announced that it will no longer allow direct purchases with it through Steam. Citing its inability to control the amount of Bitcoin used to purchase games and rising transaction costs, it has removed the currency from its list of options for buying games on the platform.
Valve originally introduced Bitcoin purchases on Steam in April 2016, when the value of the cryptocurrency rested at around the $430 mark. It joined the likes of Paypal, credit cards, Steam Wallet, and MoneyBookers, among others. While at the time Bitcoin’s value was relatively stable and remained so for much of 2016, the sharp increase in the currency’s value throughout this year has caused Valve to rethink its viability as a payment option.
“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,” Valve explained in a blog post. “Unfortunately, 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.”
On top of skyrocketing fees for speedy transactions, short-term volatility meant that buyers could see their payments be far higher than necessary by the time they were “confirmed,” by the network, and in the case of a downturn, the payments might be insufficient. In those cases the currency would be returned without the game, but that would incur further transaction charges for the buyer.
Because of that Valve has now decided that it is “untenable” to utilize the cryptocurrency as a payment method on its platform, but may consider it again in the future if it becomes more stable over time.
For now it seems that if users want to leverage their Bitcoin to purchase games, they will need to cash out first before utilizing that money to pay for the games directly.