You can now buy games on Steam with Bitcoin | PCGamesN

You can now buy games on Steam with Bitcoin

Steam Bitcoin

Update 28 Apr, 2016: The service allowing you to purchase games on Steam with Bitcoin is now live, through Valve's partner Bitpay.

As announced last week and now implemented, Steam now accepts Bitcoin as currency for any purchases on its store. This is happening through Bitpay, a company that specialises in taking Bitcoin payments. Neither Valve nor developers are actually receiving the crypto-currency themselves, with Bitpay converting it to applicable real-world money before passing it on. They've released a blog post today explaining their involvement and what it means for gamers across the world.

You'll be able to buy our list of best PC games with the crypto currency.

"Valve reached out to us because they were looking for a fast, international payment method for Steam users in emerging gaming markets in countries like India, China, and Brazil." explains Rory Desmond, director of business development for Bitpay in NA and APAC. "While more users are coming online in in these countries, traditional payment options like credit cards often aren't available. As the internet's universal currency, Bitcoin will allow Steam to easily reach gamers in every market around the world – without the high fees or the risk of chargeback fraud that come with card payments."

Slight pimping of Bitcoin aside, he's got a fair point. These are massive audiences - 37% of the Earth's population live in India and China alone - and while their access to Bitcoin probably isn't that much higher than to more traditional payment methods, every little helps. Doubtless there are plenty of folks in the US, Europe and elsewhere happy they can spend their hard-mined funds here too. Given Valve's explanation of the system, which you can see our report on from last week below, it seems like a win for everyone involved, particularly developers who now, instantly, have a far wider possible audience than before for no extra work on their part.

Bitpay's full statement on their official blog, if you want it. Any of you cashing out some hacker gold for a copy of Fallout 4?

Cheers, VG247.

Update: Screengrabs of the update from the non-public developer forum are appearing on Reddit.

If you head over to the Bitcoin Reddit page, you can see the full text of the post on the Steam developer forums. The post has also appeared on r/Steam.

Original Story 21 April, 2016: According to a report received by PCGN, Steam will soon start accepting Bitcoin for purchases of all content, though no date has been set. However, Valve are already letting developers know, so it can't be far off now. 

"We are excited to announce that Steam is going to start accepting payments via bitcoin," says an update posted to the official developer forums. "We’re using an external payment provider to process bitcoin payments to help partners reach more customers on Steam.

"Bitcoin is becoming an increasingly popular online payment method in some countries, and we’re enabling a system that insulates partners from risk and volatility while still providing value to the end customer."

So it looks like Valve are setting up a partnership with a third-party to process payments made by the underground electronic currency, giving customers more choices when supporting developers with purchases. This change will require no input from developers.

"You do not need to take any action," the post continues. "If customers choose to pay via bitcoin, they’ll still be charged the price already set in the local currency."

It works by charging the Steam customer the current price of the game, based on region, which is then passed along to the payment processor who then converts that into the same value in Bitcoin based on the daily exchange rate. The payment processor takes the Bitcoin and pays Steam in traditional currency.

"At no time does Valve receive or hold bitcoin," states the post, probably to avoid the stigma surrounding Bitcoin and its usage in underground markets like the Silk Road.

Valve goes on to reiterate there's no action required on the part of developers, although there doesn't seem to be a way to opt out for developers at this stage. "There is no need to set a bitcoin price or keep track of bitcoin valuation. The purchase price of your product does not change."

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MrAptronym avatar「Spaerk」 avataraiusepsi avatargettoldphaggot avatarAnAuldWolf avatar
MrAptronym Avatar
2 Years ago

Its like accepting bitcoin except no bitcoin actually changes hands. (I am still not quite sure how Bitpay and friends remain in business.) In any case, bitcoin is always hilarious, so I welcome this and all the messages I'll be seeing about how bitcoin is surely going to take off now for a month or so before it becomes apparent everyone just continues to pay the same way they always have.

「Spaerk」 Avatar
2 Years ago

The main problem Bitcoin has (in my opinion at least) is exactly this "It's going to take off!"

People treat Bitcoins like shares at a stock market rather than as currency - and no one wants to spend their coins when they are convinced that they will soon quadruple in value.

On the other hand, I do welcome more companies being willing to accept them - or in the case of Valve, at least are willing to let you pay with them, even if they themselves obviously don't want to hold them and use a middleman. Nothing wrong with having an alternative currency on the market.

MrAptronym Avatar
2 Years ago

I think bitcoin suffers from some serious technical flaws as well, but its the community that put it where it is now.

All the speculation, hoarding, backstabbing and the defense of the illegal marketplaces that popped up have probably ruined bitcoin's reputation beyond repair, not to mention stagnating the actual flow of currency.

aiusepsi Avatar
2 Years ago

The problems you describe are one of the economic consequences of the design of Bitcoin. The supply of Bitcoins is - by design - supposed to get reduce over time as mining gets harder. This tends to make it an inherently deflationary currency. With a real currency, central banks tend to adjust the monetary policy levers available to them in order to keep inflation at a low positive amount, so you're basically guaranteed that if you just sit on your money, it'll lose value. This makes you likely to spend it, so it works like a currency.

In short, Bitcoin behaves like a currency on the gold standard; the gold standard is a horrible idea, but some people have ideological reasons for it to appeal to them. To those sorts of people, this aspect of Bitcoin is a feature, not a bug.

Also there's the big problems with latency of transactions, especially now that the volume of transactions is starting to hit the block size limit.

Bitcoin is an interesting bit of computer science to solve the distributed consensus problem, but as a practical currency and transaction system it's a cluster-fuck. Valve are smart to not actually get their hands dirty with Bitcoin directly.

AnAuldWolf Avatar
2 Years ago

This is basically a perspective I can understand and share. The view I have of Bitcoin is one that it would serve as a launching board, a beta to help us understand how currency works in a more practical sense over different scales and amounts and thus create a better system from that data. I want to eventually see a challenger to Bitcoin that fixes these shortfalls.

I think that a distributed, decentralised currency is an inherently noble idea. One that isn't necessarily controlled by either bank or government. What I also realise is that this isn't going to happen overnight. I think that America's recent missteps with money are just part and parcel of how it's still a very young nation with problems to overcome. It's America where you'd have banks gambling mortgages because there isn't any empirical evidence to discourage them from doing so. I feel Bitcoin is a bit like that.

It's so new that people don't necessarily see how ideologies may translate to practicality. And when you also add on top of that that the average human being is motivated by laziness, greed, personal pleasure, and the simplest answer to any given problem? That doesn't match those ideologies. When Bitcoin is in the hands of these people, you'll end up with politicking and backstabbing. That is inevitable.

You need to start off with the assumption of creating a decentralised, distributed currency for people who are lazy, greedy, hedonistic, and always looking for the simplest answer. The question then is: How do you do that??

When we answer that, we may get something like Bitcoin that can work. Like automated cars (such as the Google Car), it's not that there's anything inherently wrong with them but ultimately they're going to fail. Not because they're a bad idea, and not because they're flawed in any real way. But simply because human drivers are lazy idiots.

You have to build in the expectation of human greediness, laziness, and the drive for pleasure and simplicity into the system. Bitcoin didn't.

Bitcoin was built by generous idealists who love complexity. Those people are ridiculously rare. It's almost as though humanity itself is designed to only have a very small quotient of those people.

And any future currency or technology has to account for that.

I think what I'm trying to say is that Bitcoin didn't fail humanity, humanity failed Bitcoin and that's always the way it's going to be. You have to account for human awfulness in any system you create. And the reason successful models of capitalism and currency ultimately work is that they do.

gettoldphaggot Avatar
2 Years ago

The internet also started off as something that terrorists and drug dealers would use, along with hardcore nerds, the rest always question if it has any usage at all, "and claim it can't scale.

Everything that challenges the status quo does get that treatment during the first decade or two.

Bitcoin separates the necessity of banks for finance, just like (through the internet), Youtube separated the necessity of being part of a professional TV cast / getting a deal with a film production company to get your audiovisual content out there, or being part of a record label to put your music out there and make money out of it, and so on.

Bitcoin is the biggest disruption yet, because we are talking about the end of"officialism" of finance. One no longer will need permission from no one to operate out there at a financial level. From starting a small business to receive payments, to moving millions in financial operations. All worldwide, borderless, and cheap as hell (and eventually almost instant through the Lightning Network, something also very hated by a certain sector with an agenda, that's why there is a lot of disinfo and FUD to confuse newbies about it) with a level of decentralization and security that traditional banking system will never be able to compete with. That's why a lot of people are pissed about it.

The kids that will grow up with the possibility of making money off the internet with their content then spending it on some Steam games or whatever, 100% permissionless and only a click away, will find the idea of the necessity of being part of a bank archaic.

Trying to explain to an idiot what money is it's always hard. - paper money is 'real' because you have been told it is real by the institutions that have screwed up the economy - Bitcoin is governed by mathematics and is incorruptible and cannot be manipulated.

When you understand why Bitcoin has value, you value it above fiat, that's why you are less prone to purchase something with it. Bitcoin incentives saving and not mindless consumerism. Just like earth resources, Bitcoin's are limited in number as well, unlike the insanity of our current system which works under the delusional assumption that resources are unlimited (just like the CIA disinfo agents that are pushing for a rushed blocksize increase, which btw is failing, further proving the resilience of Bitcoin against any sort of attacks, including political powergrabs).

As you can see here, the situation is beyond salvation for government issued currency. The good news is Bitcoin's rise hasn't even begun yet.

It's marketcap is not even 7 billions as of today, Uber is 50 billion alone. Think about what will happen once all that money on pretend-stocks will start looking for a new home.

Think about what will happen once governments eliminate cash, therefore rendering impossible to do anything outside of government control. The end of financial privacy.

Think about what will happen once governments start confiscating gold. In fact it's already happening

and they have passed laws in the past in the USA against gold, as we all know. Have fun trying to move your gold without getting detected once shit hits the fan.

The governments can't stop the Bitcoin network, just like they can't stop Bitorrent, that's not even a problem. Bitcoin will keep getting more anonymous, more solid, it will keep scaling, it will keep destroying the FUDsters.

Objectively speaking, Bitcoin is the ultimate form of money. No matter if you treat it like gold or currency. It will always have value. No one uses gold to buy anything, that doesn't stop gold for having a marketcap on the trillions of dollars. Bitcoin is an objectively better gold, so do the math.

In any case, if you get paid directly in Bitcoin (like I do, im a programmer and get paid on Bitcoin) you will be way more prone to purchase stuff with it, because you don't have to buy it first to spend it, which is annoying.

I have purchased a lot of stuff with it on saving a lot of money, but im a pioneer getting in paid in Bitcoin, most people are still getting their heads around it or haven't heard about it. Most people don't have long term vision and can't see potential while the rest see nonsense, that's why most people remain poor and stupid.

Bitcoin has 0 fundamental technical flaws and is proving that it can scale. It feels good that I have the best developers in the game making my money better.

-Segregated Witness will deliver enhanced scaling. And this is a reality now, that allows for the following to come sooner than expected:

-Sidechains will deliver all kinds of cool stuff, smart contracts, anything.

-Confidential transactions: Say goodbye to knowing how much money is being moved, if you want to stay anonymous will be able to do it even easier than it is now.

-Coinjoin: Even more anonymous, agencies trying to trace money movements will be rendered useless.

-Schnorr signatures: This will make Bitcoin even easier to scale, even more improved anonimity as well.

-Lightning network:

Trillions of transactions per second, instantly and cheap, way more decentralized and secure than any alternative the banking system can come up with. A solution that several companies are working at, so there is healthy competition to come up with the best possible outcome. This is something they are scared shitless about, that's why they have hired a lot of disinfo agents to drop all kinds of FUD about this. We are talking about deprecating all of it's competition (say bye bye to Western Union and friends).

But let's go back to where we are at today.

Here is where you might need to change your perspective.

Right now Bitcoin is a speculation not a necessity for daily life.

TCP/IP was once just a speculative technology with no driving purpose in daily life. But I think we can agree that it is quite the opposite today?

The difference between Bitcoin and TCP/IP is that you can buy and posses shares in Bitcoin whereas you couldnt buy and posses shares in TCP/IP

If you are willing to endure learning how to get some, you can own some today.

Count your blessings that you have the advantage of even knowing it exists.

MrAptronym Avatar
2 Years ago

To quote Carl Sagan: "The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown." To be blunt, the kind of spiel you're giving here is exactly what everyone else has mentioned as issues with the community.

"CIA disinfo agents", "Objectively speaking, Bitcoin is the ultimate form of money.", "Most people don't have long term vision and can't see potential while the rest see nonsense, that's why most people remain poor and stupid." These things do not make anyone want to interact with the Bitcoin community. Also, being deflationary (Well, someday being deflationary, Bitcoin is currently pretty inflationary still) is not something most people consider a good thing. Screaming FUD and disinfo whenever anyone disagrees is also not a way to ingratiate anyone.

Bitcoin true believers constantly talk about all the things that are going to happen; but importantly they have not yet happened. I've been hearing about the same perfect solutions and how they will be implemented any day now for years. (Okay, the lightning network has only been a buzzword for a little bit. Smart contracts go way back though, people love talking about payment channels and smart contracts) I have been there since what... 2009? Not right at the start, but pretty soon after. Back when you mined bitcoins with a CPU and even before someone spent 10,000 on a pizza.

In the beginning most people treated it like a fun curiosity. It was a lot of cryptography buffs, but it didn't take long to start seeing people clamoring about how it would replace all money any day now. (Mainly among people with a libertarian or anarchistic political stake in it. Political positions not everyone shares.) It has converted a lot of electricity into waste heat since then and still hasn't really had an effect on anyone who hasn't willingly bought into it. (Or begrudgingly figured it out enough to use it on a darknet market.) The only real adoption I have seen for a long time has been among businesses accepting one of a couple payment services that don't make them touch bitcoins at all.

Claims bitcoin will take over the world economy any day now (Claims bitcoin holders desperately want to believe so that their hoards will some day make them a new oligarchy) remind me of the claims I have seen for far longer that Linux will take over the desktop market. It's a bunch of people with a specific ideal assuming everyone wants what they want, and that those who don't are just too dull witted to see it, or somehow paid off.