From today, the 6th December 2017, it has been confirmed that Steam will no longer accept Bitcoin as a payment method. This is due to the high fees and volatility that is associated with Bitcoin.
In a statement released by Steam, they state;
“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”
It has been suggested that the fees have increased to a huge $20 per transactions, compared to the $0.20 fee that was present when Bitcoin was initiated. Because there is no control over the high fee that is connected to Bitcoin, and that companies such as Steam have no control over this, it is resulting in high costs when purchasing items with Bitcoin. The high fees then present more of a problem when the value of Bitcoin then drops. At the moment it is at an all time high; however, many financial experts are expecting a dramatic drop in this value.
The value of Bitcoin has always been volatile, but this has become more extreme over the past few months, and has seen it lose as much as 25% of the value in just a few days. Because of this, when Steam customers purchase a game using Bitcoin, they will have to pay the cost of the game, as well as the amount to cover the transaction fee. This transaction then has to be completed before the value of Bitcoin changes, otherwise they might be expected to pay more. This can be a subtle change, or a significant one, which then puts customers off.
There are a number of ways in which to resolve this issue, but unfortunately both come at the detriment of the user. They can either have the original balance refunded and miss out on the game, or pay the remaining balance. Steam have decided that this is no longer feasible, saying;
“With the transaction fee being so high right now, it is not feasible to refund or ask the customer to transfer the missing balance”
This is ultimately the reason, which has led Steam to no longer support Bitcoin as a payment option. They have reiterated that this is not a permanent decision, but they will do what is best for them and the Steam community and will continue to resolve any pending issues for customers who have been impacted by existing underpayments and increased transaction fees.