How Steam’s Bitcoin Integration Should Really Work

Steam's recent Bitcoin integration is exciting news, but has it failed to fully utilize the blockchains most compelling features; speed, security, and trustless verifiability?

Lets see how Steam handles both Bitcoin and traditional credit card payments.

Rather than using Bitcoin to simplify the checkout process, this integration has more steps than paying by credit card. It requires the entry of unnecessary billing information, regardless of chosen payment method, and redirects off-site to complete the order.

How Steam SHOULD handle bitcoin payments.

  1. Steam generates a personal top-up address for each user.
  2. Users send BTC to this address at anytime, no checkout required.
  3. Steam receives the payment, and automatically credits the appropriate account.

It doesn't get easier than that.

It's possible Steam chose a third party payment flow because it did not require any substantial development of their backend. This allows them to leverage the instant conversion of bitcoin back into fiat.

While this is understandable, merchant languor should never come at the sacrifice of quality user experience.

Bitcoin adoption will always be worth celebrating, but merchants should endeavor to make better use of bitcoin's unique abilities. Otherwise, we have gained nothing.