Steam will no longer accept Bitcoin on the store.
Valve revealed the change in a blog post, citing volatility of the currency’s value and high processing fees as the two main reasons behind its decision.
Both of these factors changed significantly in the last few months, according to Valve. The transaction fees – charged by the Bitcoin network – have been as high as $20 per transaction as recent as last week, a massive bump from the $0.20 the network used to charge when Steam first accepted Bitcoin.
When the value of Bitcoin drops, these high fees become even more of a problem. “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,” Valve explained.
“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.”
Valve would either refund the original payment, or ask the customer to pay the difference. In both cases, according to Valve, the Bitcoin network will charge a transaction fee on – so twice on one order.
“This year, we’ve seen increasing number of customers get into this state,” the post went on. “With the transaction fee being so high right now, 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 changes while the Bitcoin network processes the additional transfer).”
As a result, Valve called supporting Bitcoin “untenable”, but it left the door open for reevaluation “at a later date.”