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Steam Ends Bitcoin Support

07 December 2017, 02:16 | Edward Lowe

Steam Ends Bitcoin Support

Steam Ends Bitcoin Support

Gaming and entertainment platform Steam on Wednesday announced it would no longer support bitcoin as a payment method, citing expense in addition to market uncertainty.

This follows a series of rapid Bitcoin growth. Roughly one week later Bitcoin is sitting at $US13,000.

That's one of the reasons why Valve is no longer accepting Bitcoin as a payment method.

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The problem stems from the fact that Bitcoin's value is guaranteed only for a short time when making purchases with the cryptocurrency.

"When checking out on Steam, a customer will transfer x amount of Bitcoin for the cost of the game, plus y amount of Bitcoin to cover the transaction fee charged by the Bitcoin network".

Moreover, Valve said that "The high transaction fees cause even greater problems when the value of Bitcoin itself drops dramatically". 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.

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Essentially the price of Bitcoin moves so quickly, and so dramatically, that it's hard to find a reasonable foothold on what video games will cost. Newer cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin all offer much lower transaction fees and faster confirmation times than Bitcoin.

If a transaction times out, Steam has previously refunded the user, or asked for further bitcoin to cover the transaction - however both cases result in additional fees charged by the network. There are some major companies, such as Microsoft and DISH, accepting bitcoin payment, but few others have followed suit. Is Bitcoin something users want to be using on a day-to-day basis as digital money, or is it still only functional as a store of value.

Steam's resolutions to this, refunding the payment or asking for a transfer of additional funds, incurs network transaction fee which comes in addition to the base transaction fee. That is unlikely at this point. Bitcoin's bull run in 2017 has been marked by significant dips in price, following events such as China's crackdown on cryptocurrencies and the cancelation of the SegWit2x upgrade (which resulted in a 29% drop in price, followed by an abrupt recovery).

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Valve might be backing out of Bitcoin support for now, but it said that it might revisit the issue and its impact on the company and the community in the future.



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