An alleged leak from Steam’s translation project may have revealed that Valve will be adding Bitcoin as a payment option soon. According to the leak, Steam will use BitPay to handle their bitcoin transactions.
Valve Software’s Steam client is the largest and most popular online PC video game distributor. Steam sales topped 3.5 billion last year, according to Polygon. For some perspective, that means Steam’s sales for one year amounted to more than 60% of Bitcoin’s total marketcap.
Neither Valve nor Bitpay have commented directly on the rumor. Valve allows its community to translate Steam into various different languages. A Reddit user going by the name of Haoose posted the image. He has posted similar leaks in the previous months, including a few days ago when he posted a new list of currencies allegedly set to be accepted by Steam and a Escrow program that seemingly came to fruition in December.
Still, without word from either Valve or Bitpay, we cannot say for certain that Steam will begin accepting bitcoin. It could be that Valve wants to be prepared to add it if they decide to at some point in the future, or this could be an elaborate trick played by Haoose. However, his previous accurate leaks do lend some credibility to this rumor.
Gabe Newell, the founder and CEO of Valve Software, said in a 2014 AMA that he didn’t think Steam would accept bitcoin until its price volatility issue was solved. There were Bitcoin exchanges that would have eliminated that risk for Valve but Newell, for whatever reason, didn’t address that.
Bitcoin integration remained a popular request on the Steam Forums. The search term “Bitcoin” leads to 27 pages of results at press time.
Assuming for a moment that the rumor proves to be correct, it would be a major coup for the Bitcoin ecosystem. While Microsoft has been allowing users to fund their accounts using bitcoin for over a year, its library is not nearly as extensive as Steam’s and other competing services (like EA’s Origin) also do not currently accept bitcoin.
With low-cost indie games becoming more popular, Valve could benefit from Bitcoin’s low transaction costs. Over 3,000 games were released on Steam last year, many of them indie games with price tags lower than their AAA counterparts.
Steam claims over 125 million active users. We have reached out to both BitPay and Valve for comment and will update this space when we have more information.
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