$20 transactions and quickly changing valuation make the currency “untenable”
Transaction fees charged to customers using Bitcoin have surged throughout 2017, Valve says, peaking at $20 last week from a starting of about $0.20 when Steam first started using the currency. With Valve unable to control these blockchain-linked costs (passed on from third-party Bitpay), the company worried that it was leading to “unreasonably high costs for purchasing games when paying with Bitcoin” (though apparently these are costs Bitcoin users as a whole have been willing to shoulder of late).
Bitcoin’s extremely volatile valuation has also gotten in the way of its usefulness for Steam users, Valve said. 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. Fixing this situation with a quick refund or a request for additional payment incurs more of those high transaction fees, Valve says.
For these reasons, “at this point, it has become untenable to support Bitcoin as a payment option,” the company writes. “We may re-evaluate whether Bitcoin makes sense for us and for the Steam community at a later date.”
Despite its soaring value, very few people use Bitcoin for everyday transactions, even as a handful of major companies and banks have begun to transact with the currency directly. Slow speeds and high fees for Bitcoin transaction processing have led to a split with rival Bitcoin Cash, which focuses on larger blocks that allow for faster processing.