Microsoft Corporation has removed the ‘Bitcoin’ payment option from its active payment instruments. The company was an early adopter, and former CEO Bill Gates had expressed his support for the cryptocurrency.
Microsoft’s decision has been confirmed through publicly posted chats with customer service representatives. The main cause of the cessation appears to be volatility and risk associated with the cryptocurrency.
The move and reasons are similar to Steam’s decision to stop supporting Bitcoin transactions at the start of December 2017.
Steam cited “high fees and volatility” as the reason it stopped supporting Bitcoin payments.
Transactions fees have skyrocketed from a few cents a few years back to tens of dollars, making Bitcoin almost unusable for microtransactions, where some users end up paying a large percentage of the transaction total as a transaction fee.
For companies like Microsoft and Steam, Bitcoin’s volatile price is also an issue because sudden and unforeseeable price drops may incur huge losses.
Customers are still able to use Bitcoin to add money to their Microsoft account. Accounts can be used to purchase games, movies, and apps, but these funds are not usable in the Microsoft store. Furthermore, the funds are non-refundable.
Microsoft is one of the larger vendors to remove their Bitcoin payment option. Other companies like Square added Bitcoin support in 2017. However, with the substantial increases in price and volatility through the last quarter of the year, the risk for companies like Microsoft appears to have increased.