The popular video game marketplace Steam will stop accepting bitcoin as a form of payment on their purchasing platform. On the morning of December 6th, the company announced the news on its website’s public forum, stating the change will be effective immediately.
Steam first began accepting bitcoin back in 2016 as the cryptocurrency began its rise to public prominence.
Steam Says No-Siree to High Fees and Volatility
When steam originally adopted bitcoin, the currency was more stable than it has been in recent months. A combination of bitcoin forks, network attacks, network growth, and market fluctuations have left Bitcoin with high transaction fees, sluggish transfer rates, and a questionable volatility. These concurrent factors led the Steam team to lose confidence in the cryptocurrency as a payment option.
At first, Steam users were only paying an average of $0.20 in fees when using bitcoin as payment. Just last week, however, some users had to stomach transaction fees as high as $20.00. In some cases, that would be more than the cost of the game they were purchasing.
What’s worse, slow transaction times made paying in bitcoin a hassle. Oftentimes, users would be stuck waiting for their transaction to be cleared, only to watch the price of bitcoin change significantly in the interim. If the price were to decrease in this time, the dollar cost of the game would not match up with the value of bitcoin at the time of payment confirmation, making the transaction incomplete.
To remedy this, Steam would either refund the buyer or request additional payment. Both of these options require the buyer to pay furtherbBitcoin transaction fee, and the process overall created a frustrating experience for both Steam support teams and Steam users.
Cryptocurrency Options Going Forward
In its closing remarks, Steam’s blog post remarks,
…it has become untenable to support Bitcoin as a payment option. We may re-evaluate whether Bitcoin makes sense for us and for the Steam community at a later date”
Given bitcoin’s recent unreliability, it’s unlikely that Steam will consider re-accepting it as tender for their services anytime soon. Question is, will another, more stable cryptocurrency take its place?