This morning, Steam posted in their announcements forum that they are no longer supporting Bitcoin as a payment method on their game selling platform. They first started accepting Bitcoin back in 2016 – well before the Bitcoin and Bitcoin cash split. Citing issues with high transaction fees and the volatility of Bitcoin, Steam’s KURTIS said that ‘transaction fees that are charged to the customer by the Bitcoin network have skyrocketed this year, topping out at close to $20 a transaction last week (compared to roughly $0.20 when we initially enabled Bitcoin).’
Steam will no longer accept Bitcoin payments
Since Valve has no control over the fee amounts, they have been incurring volatile and often exorbitant costs related to accepting Bitcoin as payment for games. Coupled with the fact that any bitcoin that they are in possession of could change drastically in value during drops, they’ve concluded that Bitcoin is not a viable method of payment for them to continue to support.
Historically, the price of Bitcoin has been somewhat volatile, but in the last few months that volatility has increased significantly, changing at times upward of 25% daily. Occasionally the value changes quickly enough that the customer is asked to make up the difference in price after the transaction has cleared, resulting in yet another transaction fee.
Steam has promised to re-evaluate the viability of using Bitcoin as a payment method in the future for the Steam Community and pledges to continue working to resolve any pending issues for customers who are currently impacted by market-related underpayments or transaction fees.
Legendary hedge fund manager and cryptocurrency bull Mike Novogratz is concerned that the surging bitcoin price could cause nervous regulators to attempt to cool down the markets by imposing regulations on cryptocurrency usage.
Novogratz, a former Fortress principal who is currently preparing to launch a $500 million crypto-asset hedge fund, stated on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” that he is not concerned by the price itself — he has predicted that bitcoin could “easily” reach $40,000 by the end of 2018 — but rather that the rapidity of its climb will encourage regulators to take a more active role in overseeing the markets, perhaps by placing new rules on cryptocurrency usage.
“One of the big risks out there right now is that prices are moving so fast that regulators are going to get nervous,” he said. “I could legitimately see bitcoin go $13,000, $14,000, $20,000, $25,000 and see somebody balk.”
Until now, he said, regulators in most parts of the world have been relatively accommodating of bitcoin. Although many in the community have bristled at regulations such as New York state’s notorious BitLicense, Novogratz said that most regulators have been working with bitcoin — rather than against it.
That may change, however, if the bitcoin price continues to rise at a breakneck pace and regulators begin to perceive it as a threat to the stability of the domestic economy.
“I’ve got concern that if price movements go higher we’re going to get more regulation,” Novogratz said. But “I think it’s hard to shut down. … I don’t think that’s a probability.”
While the government has little power to regulate the Bitcoin network itself, regulators could make life difficult for bitcoin users, and more significantly — businesses that engage with cryptocurrency or provide services to bitcoin users.
In the short-term, a hostile regulatory stance could render bitcoin even more volatile than it already is and potentially lead to a severe price correction. Nevertheless, as Novogratz pointed out, cryptocurrency usage is not isolated to one geographic region, limiting the ability of regulators to curtail its ascent.
“We’re in a speculative frenzy. Period. Stop. How long can it go? who knows,” Novogratz concluded, contrasting the rise of bitcoin with the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s, which he says was largely a U.S. phenomenon. “What’s interesting about this is it’s global”.
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