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Bitcoin Is Still Basically Useless for Making Payments
07 December 2017, 06:15 | Justin Tyler
Valve drops Bitcoin as a Steam payment option
Today Valve announced it will no longer be accepting Bitcoin as currency on the Steam store.
This news comes on the heels of the 1.0 release of the Lightning Network Specification, a technology that could potentially solve any issues Valve's game distribution platform might have with BTC. In the meantime, it's still working with customers who were affected by the recent rise in Bitcoin value whether it's with existing payments or transaction fees.
"Unfortunately, Valve has no control over the amount of the fee", explained Valve. "These fees result in unreasonably high costs for purchasing games when paying with Bitcoin", the company added.
In the case of rapidly changing value, offering customers refunds posed a problem for Valve.
But in the event of especially big price changes Steam would either refund the difference (if the price of bitcoin increased), or ask the customer to make a top up payment (if the price of bitcoin decreased). "So if the transaction doesn't complete within that window of time, then the amount of Bitcoin needed to cover the transaction can change".
For example, when customers made product purchases, the transactions were set to a fixed value for Bitcoin - but only for a set amount of time. Fees have skyrocketed since the beginning of the year.
Steam will no longer be accepting Bitcoin. That's huge leap from the $450 price when the platform began offering the digital currency as a payment method in April 2016.
In October, Vietnam banned cryptocurrency payments, with the State Bank of Vietnam declaring Bitcoin was not a legal payment method from the start of next year. After crossing the $11,000 mark for the first time a week ago, the currency lost 20 percent of its value in one day.
He said that the volatile fees with Steam purchases can come from timing delays associated with confirming transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain, which is constantly being updated but can suffer from network congestion. For comparison, the fee during Bitcoin's early days was only $0.20.
Valve's shirking of bitcoin is another development in a broader debate about the usefulness of the cryptocurrency.
While it is pulling the plug on accepting the cryptocurrency for now, Valve isn't ruling it out completely, with it concluding the blog post saying that it may "re-evaluate whether Bitcoin makes sense for us and for the Steam community at a later date".
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