In today’s message to developers and publishers Valve has confirmed that it is going to add support for Bitcoin payments to Steam soon.
Bitcoin payments are coming soon to Steam, they will use the local currency prices and convert during checkout. pic.twitter.com/zSZ3ueVIEU
— Steam Database (@SteamDB) April 21, 2016
According to the statement, Valve won’t process and won’t ask developers to process bitcoin transactions by themselves. Instead, Valve will employ a third-party Bitcoin processor. Its task will be to transform the game’s price in local currency into bitcoin, accept that from the customer, and pay Valve in non-cryptocurrency. It remains unknown so far if customers will have to pay additional fees for the work of this processor.
Steam will charge users according to the current value of Bitcoin in their region. So unfortunately the information about it adding bitcoin support doesn’t mean an exciting new way for Australians to bypass common region-specific cost increases. PC Gamer informs that the use of the cryptocurrency in Australia could help consumers to side-step local GST costs. The thing is that the Australian government states that Bitcoin is “akin to a bartering arrangement”. According to the tax regulation of the country, “there will be no income tax or GST implications if you are not in business or carrying on an enterprise and you simply pay for goods or services in Bitcoin.”
“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,” says the official message from Valve.
The integration of bitcoin on Steam is so remarkable due to the fact that Steam represents a fully electronic marketplace and Bitcoin is a fully electronic currency. So now, given an opportunity to pay in bitcoin users will be able to purchase and download video games using the cryptocurrency while publishers will be able to sell virtual items inside of games for bitcoins using the Steam platform.
It’s hard to deny that the fact of Steam’s adding bitcoin support contradicts the statement of Valve chief Gabe Newell on Reddit two years ago when he sounded rather skeptical about the stability of crypto-currencies. However, for next two years bitcoin has gained more support in the game industry. Not long ago online game storefront Humble Bundle added bitcoin payments for many of its game bundles, although still available not for everyone.
This time is not the first one that Steam is reported to start accepting bitcoin. Earlier this year the information appeared that Valve would cooperate with Bitcoin payment processor BitPay Inc. to add the bitcoin payment option on Steam. So far users of Steam used to purchase video games with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and PayPal.