Steam drops Bitcoin as $13k BTC milestone passed

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It doesn't seem to matter that Bitcoin is priced at almost $13,000 and it has more hype and interest in cryptocurrency than any previous point in human history, but Valve has just stopped accepting Bitcoin in Steam. Yay. When Steam first launched Bitcoin support, the transaction fee was $0.20 and now, the fee has come close to $20. Steam said it has no control over the amount of the fees, which add to transaction costs. With Valve unable to control these blockchain-linked costs (passed on from third-party Bitpay), the company anxious that it was leading to "unreasonably high costs for purchasing games when paying with Bitcoin" (though apparently these are costs Bitcoin users as a whole have been willing to shoulder of late). But it is not a steady ascent.

The value has recently become very unstable and has been known to drop in value by as much as 25% over just a few days. "This creates a problem for customers trying to purchase games with Bitcoin".

Valve has been quite open about their concern, especially if a customer were to request a refund or to cover the missing cost of the game they purchased, stating, "It is not feasible to refund or ask the customer to transfer the missing balance (which itself runs the risk of underpayment again, depending on how much the value of Bitcoin change while the Bitcoin network processes the additional transfer)".

Steam's resolutions to this, refunding the payment or asking for a transfer of additional funds, incurs network transaction fee which comes in addition to the base transaction fee. Ideally, the value of Bitcoin would remain stagnant from the transaction's start to its finish, but recent jumps in the currency's volatility mean that the Bitcoin value of a purchase can rapidly change before some transactions are able to finish.

For example, transactions can often get bottlenecked, so some users have suggested expanding the network's capacity. Valve's move was part of a larger acceptance of the digital currency, which is now accepted by more than 100,000 merchants worldwide, including Microsoft, Dish and Subway. This highlights the limitations of the cryptocurrency, and Valve now doesn't accept any alternatives. Steam says it's possible it could be re-evaluated in the future, so if you're sitting on a lot of Bitcoin, that's probably good news.

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