However, in a new blog post today, the company announced that it would no longer accept the cryptocurrency. In a blog post, Valve explained that bitcoin transaction fees have gone up to almost $20 per transaction last week, "compared to roughly $0.20 when we initially enabled Bitcoin".
Valve has no control over Bitcoin fees and laments over the 'unreasonably high costs for purchasing games when paying with Bitcoin'. But high fees and the roller coaster market value have convinced Valve to give it up as a viable alternative to traditional payment methods.
Valve adds that the volatile pricing of Bitcoin "has become extreme in the last few months, losing as much as 25% in value over a period of days".
If people still want to purchase games with Bitcoin, they will have to find workarounds to do so such as using legitimate Bitcoin gift card sites which allow people to buy gift cards with their Bitcoins. With Bitcoin values changing so rapidly, the amount of Bitcoin needed to cover a purchase can change significantly between the time a purchase is initiated and when it's completed. Fees have skyrocketed since the beginning of the year. For Bitcoin, however, the cryptocurrency market takes a fee when a Bitcoin owner initiates a transaction.
When Valve first started accepting Bitcoin as an option for Steam purchases last April, the cryptocurrency was trading around $450.
At the time of writing, the price of one Bitcoin was just shy of $14,000. In early September, Bitcoin was almost worth $5,000 per unit, but the closing of BTC China (due to new rules from government regulators) saw a significant dip in the currency's value.
When Steam attempts to resolve these issues, the payment is refunded or additional funds are requested to help cover the balance, and that leads to additional fees for the platform. The decision to drop bitcoin from its payment options portend challenges to bitcoin functioning as a currency for several reasons.
Many organizations are still reluctant to trust blockchain technology, however others have found good use cases for it apart from Bitcoin. This created a poor user experience and also had the side effect of requiring the buyer to pay a second Bitcoin network fee when sending additional currency. However, the post did end by stating that Steam may re-evaluate Bitcoin in the future and decide then whether or not it is suitable for the company and its community.