The Bitcoin community has long rallied to get the cryptocurrency included among accepted payment methods for popular platforms, and it doesn't get bigger than Steam when it comes to video games, making this a disappointing development for the supporters of the world's most popular cryptocurrency. For Bitcoin, however, the cryptocurrency market takes a fee when a Bitcoin owner initiates a transaction.
When it does happen, as Valve says has been becoming more common, Valve issues a refund for the amount.
The company detailed the decision on Steam's official blog, explaining that recent fluctuations in the value of Bitcoin have made using it on Steam unreasonably hard and costly for consumers.
According to steam, the volatility of Bitcoin has been "extreme" in the last few month.
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)". In an effort to prevent customers from wasting money on fees and to protect itself from volatility, Valve has simply made a decision to remove Bitcoin as an option during checkout. 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 instance, Steam said that bitcoin transaction fees have "skyrocketed this year". Its volatility and transaction costs are a common sticking point for those looking to use it as a currency, yet the possible solutions to these pitfalls could imperil the decentralization that makes bitcoin appealing in the first place.
Many organizations are still reluctant to trust blockchain technology, however others have found good use cases for it apart from Bitcoin. This highlights the limitations of the cryptocurrency, and Valve now doesn't accept any alternatives. Valve said it may be brought back at some later date, presumably when (or if) it stabilizes, but at least one economist believes that stabilization will come in the form of a crash, which may make it a moot point anyway.
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