Due to the fanfare surrounding digital currencies last year, Steam began accepting Bitcoin as an official method of payment for its games and services. Since then, the Bitcoin network has been charging more for transaction fees despite rapid changes in its valuation, causing Valve’s gaming platform to drop the method entirely.
“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),” Valve wrote.
“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.”
Naturally, the cryptocurrency’s valuation is important, as this can cause problems with regards to purchasing items from the storefront. This becomes apparent with customer habits that might cause a consumer to complete a transaction outside of the original window of value, meaning that they could have paid more or less than the intended amount.
With ordinary currency, this wouldn’t be a problem as changes are often minor and span a great deal of time, but cryptocurrency is a whole different beast. Bitcoin’s value increased more than $1000 its previous value in under 24 hours, to which Valve has stated it has seen a number of customers get into the above scenario.
This has been a pain for Valve, as the company would often entertain the notion that it isn’t its customers’ fault and refund the difference that has been overpaid, or even cover the portion necessary to complete the transaction if circumstances suited.
“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),” explained Valve.
Cryptocurrency may return at a later date if it ever stabilises, however in its current state, Valve and likely a lot of other companies feel that it is not feasible to work with. Those still affected by Bitcoin transactions gone wrong need not worry, as Valve will continue to right the wrongs made by the system.
KitGuru Says: Some cryptocurrency users might be annoyed that some ruined it for the many, however this is a very unique form of payment in comparison to standard currency that requires a lot of effort to maintain. Does this change your feelings about mining Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency?