The rise of Bitcoin has been nothing short of meteoric, and yesterday the currency hit a new high of $14,000 USD. This surge has caused online gaming provider Steam to sever its ties with the currency, citing ‘market unpredictability’ as the cause of this split. According to market data, that processing fee for BTC payments have increased nearly 10 times in the past year, and thus due to these ever increasing rates, the gaming giant feels that it is best to remove Bitcoin from its roster of payment options.
When contacted, Steam representatives had the following words, “At this point, it has become untenable to support Bitcoin as a payment option.” This is in light of the fact that when Steam started using BTC for internal payments, its value stood at a meagre $450. However, things have taken a turn dramatically since then, and now the value of BTC seems to be increasing without any end in sight.
How Did This All Come About?
Steam claims that “it had no control over the high transaction fees”, and that the fee had been set by the bitcoin network. However, the problem started when customers who made in game purchases were faced with issues of ‘incomplete transactions’. This was because of the changing value of BTC, and many transactions failed as a result of constant price surges (thereby significantly altering the value of various in-game purchase).
Through all of this, the support staff at Steam tried to resolve this issue by offering refunds to customers who overpaid. However, there were also times when the value of BTC dipped during 2016, and during this period, customers were asked to dole out more money to cover for the remaining balance.
So What Now?
To process the Bitcoin payments, Steam had been making use of a third part company called BitPay. When we tried to contact the organization, James Walpole (BitPay’s communications director) had the following words “We're disappointed that we can't work with them right now.” James went on to add that due to volatile fee rates, Steam purchases were becoming plagued with issues such as ‘time delays’ and ‘network congestion’.
Representatives from Steam have come forth and said that continuing in-game transactions in such a “haphazard manner” is no longer feasible, and thus as a result ties between the organizations have to be cut.