First introduced as a payment option in April 2016, bitcoin transactions are now no longer supported on Steam because of “high fees and volatility” of the cryptocurrency’s value, Valve announced last night. Since online dating site OKCupid has also already dropped support for the virtual cash, you’ll now have to spend it on trips to space or hitmen on the dark web instead.
A substantial increase in conversion fees from $0.20 to almost $20 per transaction – an amount managed by third-party vendor Bitpay, which Valve has no control over – and the inherently fluctuating cost of bitcoin are the reasons cited for what will probably be a controversial decision for people who’ve already invested in extortionately over-priced video cards for mining and now can’t even buy games.
“These fees result in unreasonably high costs for purchasing games when paying with Bitcoin. The high transaction fees cause even greater problems when the value of Bitcoin itself drops dramatically,” the company explains.
“Historically, the value of Bitcoin has been volatile, but the degree of volatility has become extreme in the last few months, losing as much as 25% in value over a period of days. This creates a problem for customers trying to purchase games with Bitcoin. When checking out on Steam, a customer will transfer x amount of Bitcoin for the cost of the game, plus y amount of Bitcoin to cover the transaction fee charged by the Bitcoin network. The value of Bitcoin is only guaranteed for a certain period of time so if the transaction doesn’t complete within that window of time, then the amount of Bitcoin needed to cover the transaction can change. The amount it can change has been increasing recently to a point where it can be significantly different.”
Or, you know, Valve wants out while bitcoin is up.