Steam ditches Bitcoin calling it too expensive and volatile
Despite Bitcoin’s rising popularity – or hype, whichever way you look at it – online gaming store Steam is axing it as a permissible payment option on the platform.
Steam – the largest web games store in the US and Europe – laid down the law on Thursday, stipulating that it would no longer accept the cryptocurrency for any purchases across its regions.
The platform blamed the decision on high transaction purchases, which soared to $20 (£15) per transaction last week, compared to the 20 cents (15p) when Bitcoin first emerged, and volatile pricing.
The latter is a highly visible issue at the moment, with Bitcoin recently reaching the $14,000 mark, and with it, the world’s headlines. Since its launch, the cryptocurrency has soared 1,300% and many market commentators forecast that it’s a bubble waiting to burst.
The decision is symptomatic of a wider concern for Bitcoin, whose objective of becoming a widespread decentralised payment system looks dubious given the the dual-pronged impediments of longer transaction times and higher transaction costs (owing to the sharp increase in popularity and surge in data-processing).
As a consequence, despite its value soaring to dizzying heights, the cryptocurrency is rarely used for everyday transactions. The costs at Steam, in particular, were markedly high; in instances of refund, customers were compelled to pay the transaction cost twofold: once initially, and again when receiving refunds for original payment.
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Price volatility is another central issue, with the currency’s valuing changing so rapidly and so often that the amount of Bitcoin required for purchase can change between the time a purchase is initiated and completed.]
As such, it has become “untenable [for Steam] to support BItcoin as a payment option,” reports the company. The dream is not yet dead, however: “We may re-evaluate whether Bitcoin makes sense for us and for the Steam community at a later date”.
Snubbed, but not forgotten.