Valve have taken away the ability to pay with Bitcoin on Steam, citing high fees and volatility as the reasons behind the decision.
The transfer fees used to pay for goods with Bitcoin have increases dramatically, at times around $20 per transaction, which is a huge difference compared to the $0.20 that Steam charged when they first began accepting the currency.
When purchasing a product from Steam with Bitcoin a customer would transfer the amount required to cover the cost of the product, and then a separate amount that would cover the transfer fee.
However, Bitcoin value is only guaranteed for a certain amount of time and if the value changes before the transaction is complete them Valve could end up losing a lot of money, or end up having to charge customers even more for the product they purchased. The problem many users have had over the year was need to pay more since their Bitcoin lost value before the transaction completed, meaning they were hit with another transaction fee when paying the remaining amount on their purchases.
Due to the issues consumers face and because of the fluctuating value of Bitcoin, Valve have decided to stop accepting it in exchange for goods. Valve did say that they might revisit the issue in the future to see whether or not Bitcoin would make sense as an accepted currency in the future.
This news comes off the back of a particularly unstable period for the value of Bitcoin. At the end of November Bitcoin had hit a record-high value, but then saw the value decline by 20 percent in a single day. Overall the value has surged by 1,100 percent in the year to date, and yesterday the currency hit another record high of $14,000.
The majority of financial institutions are still unconvinced by Bitcoin, preferring to wait and see how it goes. Many experts in the financial industry are not convinced by the currency’s backed it up. The fact that over $60 million worth of the currency was stolen in an online hack doesn’t help matters in the eyes of these influential companies. On the other hand strong competition among retailers, particularly online, puts them under more and more pressure to do their best to serve their customers better, and this includes also providing greater variety of options for payments. It will not be surprising if Valve, among other retailers, resume accepting Bitcoin or other electronic currencies some time in future.