The phenomenon of Bitcoin as a form of currency has been fascinating to track, as the online cryptocurrency has seen tremendous fluctuations in value over recent months, as well as concerns about the potential for an economic bubble and its potential use in illicit activity. Today, the Steam Team announced that it will no longer support Bitcoin as a method of payment on Steam, as the team claims that the volatile nature of Bitcoin’s value prevents it from being a reliable value over a period of days, and that the high transaction fees cause problems when those changing values kick in.
According to the blog post, when sudden changes in value on Bitcoin occurs, users are either being refunded the original payment, or the user is asked to transfer additional funds to cover the cost, but in both cases, users must pay the Bitcoin transaction fee again (which is currently close to $20). Steam states that there have been an increasing number of users affected by this issue in recent months, which led to the decision to halt Bitcoin as an available payment option.
In its post, the Steam team also makes clear that it will continue to monitor Bitcoin in the future, and it may re-evaluate as a future date whether the cryptocurrency could be reauthorized.
[Source: Steam Blog]
There’s no denying the important new place that Bitcoin has carved out for itself in the worldwide economy, but Steam’s explanations of the problems with using Bitcoin for purchases on the service make sense. My suspicion is that this change will only affect a small percentage of Steam users, but perhaps more users use Bitcoin than I’m aware.