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Bitcoin: Steam Gaming Service Is Waving Goodbye

December 6, 2017, 11:43 PM UTC

Popular gaming service Steam said Wednesday that it would no longer accept bitcoin from customers as payment for video games.

Steam, which is owned by the video game developer Valve, cited the “high fees and volatility” associated with the popular cryptocurrency.

Last year, Steam said it would accept bitcoin, helped in part by the BitPay payment service. Being able to load “Steam Wallets” with bitcoin would be beneficial for people in China, Brazil, and India who may lack “traditional payment options like credit cards,” BitPay said at the time.

However, bitcoin’s rollercoaster past couple of months have changed Steam’s plans.

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For instance, Steam said that bitcoin transaction fees have “skyrocketed this year.” Whereas the transaction fee used to be 20 cents per transaction when Steam first accepted bitcoin, the fees jumped a whopping 9,900% to $20, Steam said. Steam customers must also pay for the bitcoin transaction fees.

“Unfortunately, Valve has no control over the amount of the fee,” Steam said. “These fees result in unreasonably high costs for purchasing games when paying with Bitcoin.”

Bitcoin’s fluctuating value also poses a dilemma for Steam customers.

“The value of Bitcoin is only guaranteed for a certain period of time so if the transaction doesn’t complete within that window of time, then the amount of Bitcoin needed to cover the transaction can change,” Steam said.

Because of the high transaction fees, Steam said “it is not feasible to refund or ask the customer to transfer the missing balance.”

The service said it is “working to resolve any pending issues for customers who are impacted by existing underpayments or transaction fees,” and that it may accept bitcoin at a later date.

Steam did not say how much people have spent on its service using bitcoin. Its customers can still pay using credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal.