Microsoft has stopped supporting Bitcoin as a payment method for Microsoft products, Bleeping Computer has learned.
Several Microsoft employees have told us the move is temporary and cited the unstable state of the Bitcoin currency. Microsoft added support for Bitcoin in 2014, and has previously temporarily stopped supporting Bitcoin in the past [1, 2].
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.
Microsoft does not allow users to buy products with Bitcoin directly but asks users to add a predetermined amount of dollars to their account balance, for which they can pay with Bitcoin.
That transfer is still subject to transaction fees, and Microsoft may still lose the value of the Bitcoin funds it received in its account, something that any financial department will have an issue with.
While Bitcoin price has always fluctuated, it never swung like it did in the past three months. To be widely adopted by the financial sector, a digital or fiat currency must be stable in order to be useful, something that Bitcoin is definitely not.
In the meantime, Microsoft is advising customers to use other methods of payment, such as credit or debit cards, PayPal accounts, or a direct bank account.
Also this week, Visa terminated its agreement with WaveCrest, a prepaid card issuer, shutting down hundreds of thousands of Bitcoin debit cards issued by Bitwala, BitPay, Cryptopay, and others.