Bitcoin Volatility Leads Online Gaming Platform Steam To Drop Support

Announcements, News | December 8, 2017 By:

Popular online gaming platform Steam has stopped accepting bitcoin due to the currency’s high processing fees and volatility.

Steam is a digital distribution platform developed by Valve, which offers digital rights management (DRM), multiplayer gaming, video streaming and social networking services. Steam provides the user with installation and automatic updating of games, and community features such as friends lists and groups, cloud saving, and in-game voice and chat functionality.

Steam started accepting bitcoin in April 2016 through a partnership with payment processing BitPay. It enabled customers to use any bitcoin wallet to scan, pay, and get back to gaming in seconds without having to provide sensitive financial information.

On December 6, the company announced that it will no longer support bitcoin as a payment method on their platform due to high fees and volatility. Steam said 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.

“Historically, the value of bitcoin has been volatile, but the degree of volatility has become extreme in the last few months, losing as much as 25% in value over a period of days,” the company said. “This creates a problem for customers trying to purchase games with bitcoin. When checking out on Steam, a customer will transfer x amount of bitcoin for the cost of the game, plus y amount of bitcoin to cover the transaction fee charged by the bitcoin network. 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.”

As a result, support for the cryptocurrency as a payment method has become untenable. The company said they may re-evaluate whether bitcoin makes sense for them and for the Steam community at a later date.