Valve Drops Bitcoin As Payment Method On Steam Citing High Fees And Volatility

Valve's love affair with Bitcoin is going through a rough patch even though the cryptocurrency was trading at $10,000 in late September and even higher today. Valve announced that as of December 6 it had decided to stop supporting Bitcoin as a payment method for games on its Steam platform. The specific reasons that Valve says it won’t take Bitcoin anymore are high fees and volatility.


Valve wrote, "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. For example, transaction fees that are charged to the customer by the Bitcoin network have skyrocketed this year, topping out at close to $20 a transaction last week (compared to roughly $0.20 when we initially enabled Bitcoin). Unfortunately, Valve has no control over the amount of the fee. These fees result in unreasonably high costs for purchasing games when paying with Bitcoin. The high transaction fees cause even greater problems when the value of Bitcoin itself drops dramatically."

Valve also notes that historically, the value of Bitcoin has been very volatile, but has become "extreme" in the last few months at times losing over 25% of its value in a span of days. When this sort of change between a purchase starting and completing results in a significant change, the normal way it addresses that issue was to either refund the original payment to the buyer or ask the buyer to transfer additional funds to cover the outstanding balance. In either of those cases, the user has to pay a Bitcoin network transaction fee again.

Valve continues, "With the transaction fee being so high right now, 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 changes while the Bitcoin network processes the additional transfer). At this point, 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."

If you have a purchase using Bitcoin that has issues, Steam says that it will continue working with customers impacted by underpayments or transaction fees.. for now.