Valve president Gabe Newell says he is not a fan of crypto

    28 Feb 2022
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    Steam wasn’t accepting Bitcoin for long due to its volatility and ‘50% of transactions were fraudulent,’ says Gabe Newell, the Valve president.

    Bitcoin was adopted as a payment method on Steam in April 2016. However, it was removed in December 2017 due to the volatility of cryptocurrency’s price and “a significant increase in the fees to process transactions on the Bitcoin network,” Valve wrote at the time.

    Recently, Valve sparked the rage of crypto fans by banning blockchain and NFT games from the store. Last week, while talking about the Steam Deck, Gabe Newell described to PC Gamer his take on crypto in general.

    He said he is not a fan, at least when it comes to Steam.

    “The problem is that a lot of the actors who are in that space are not people you want interacting with your customers,” Newell said. “We had problems when we started accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment option. 50% of those transactions were fraudulent, which is a mind-boggling number. These were customers we didn’t want to have.”

    Newell noted that Bitcoin’s fluctuations were “a complete nightmare” – people weren’t happy when a game could cost $10 one day and $100 the next.

    Newell’s stance hasn’t changed with the recent rise of blockchain games and NFTs.

    “There’s a lot of really interesting technology in blockchains and figuring out how to do a distributed ledger, but I think that people haven’t figured out why you actually need a distributed ledger,” he said.

    “There’s a difference between what it should be and what it really is currently in the real world. And that’s sort of where we were at with the blockchain-based NFT stuff: so much of it was ripping customers off. And we were like, ‘Yeah, that’s not what we want to do, we don’t want to enable screwing large numbers of our customers over,’ so that’s what drove that decision. There’s nothing inherently about distributed ledgers that makes them problematic. It’s just so far that’s almost always what our experience has been.”

    In contrast, the game publisher Electronic Arts (EA) has told investors that collectible NFTs are “an important part of the future of our industry.” EA’s CEO sees promise for tracking in-game collectibles and “play-to-earn” schemes.

    During an earnings call last November, EA boss Andrew Wilson referred to NFTs and blockchain gaming as an “important part about the future of our industry”, which echoes what Ubisoft CFO Frédérick Duguet said earlier this week. Duguet believes that the technology “will enable more play-to-earn that will enable more players to actually earn content, own content, and we think it’s going to grow the industry quite a lot.

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