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Valve banning games that allow exchanging cryptocurrencies or NFTs

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It seems Valve aren't a big fan of cryptocurrencies or NFTs as they've updated their onboarding guide with a new point about disallowing games that allow you to exchange them.

Under the Rules and Guidelines heading where it mentions "What you shouldn’t publish on Steam" there's a new line that states "Applications built on blockchain technology that issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs".

One game that has already been hit by this is Age of Rust, with the Steam store page no longer appearing in the search. If you manage to get to the store page, Valve has put up a notice that reads "Notice: At the request of the publisher, Age of Rust is no longer available for sale on Steam.". Age of Rust clearly states how it lets players gain various NFTs, plus it also used NFTs from other games using the Enjin Platform.

Speaking on Twitter the developer put up a short thread where they explained they've been upfront and had good communication with Valve but ultimately they lost the battle. In it they said "[…] Steam's point of view is that items have value and they don't allow items that can have real-world value on their platform. […]"

Other games that include NFTs include the popular MIR4 which is still online and the upcoming Mist which still also has the store page live but it's not actually released on Steam yet.

What do you think about this news? Let us know in the comments.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Misc, Steam
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crabctrl Oct 15, 2021
Quote...they don't allow items that can have real-world value on their platform...
Are we talking about the same Valve here? Team Fortress 2 and CS:GO would beg to differ!
AussieEevee Oct 15, 2021
To me, cryptocurrencies sound like nothing more than a scam.

But more importantly, remember that behind every rule is a story. I have to wonder what has been going on behind the scenes.
yokem55 Oct 15, 2021
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There are a few confounding things here then what a simple pro- or aniti- crypto narrative can explain.

1) There are very real regulatory issues with creating a forum for exchanging stuff with real world value. Securities, gambling and anti money laundering laws are no joke.

2) Valve has an extensive market of skins, trading cards, and other items - one that they control entirely and earn a good commission on. So there is a real avenue of self interest they are protecting.

3) Using this kind of stuff in a meaningful way pretty much demands self custody. Which means lost or stolen keys can cost someone very large sums of real enough money. And to be honest - the vast majority of PC users aren't technically up for safe self-custody.

4) This stuff is an innovative way to get community buy in and funding for development. Whether it can scale and operate in a healthy way though really remains to be seen.
WorMzy Oct 15, 2021
Interesting to see how a digital platform can be anti-digital currency. I wonder which government has been leaning on them, considering China's recent actions regarding bitcoin et al..
superboybot Oct 15, 2021
I consider myself a crypto-proponent, but I still think this is a good move for now.

In my mind, NFTs feed into the worst instincts of blockchain technologies: bubble-based speculative investing. These elements have no place on a gaming platform, and hopefully, Valve will continue in this direction.

Crypto-based transactions are more complicated. I think that games that allow both buying and selling crypto-assets will descend into Coinbase with pretty graphics. However, simply using crypto as a transactional currency to purchase in-game items should be allowed. The only counterpoint I can think of is that regular people do not understand crypto enough to treat it responsibly. I believe there is some truth to that, but I can see this becoming less and less of a factor in the next year or two.

It's good that Valve has a policy at all. Policies can be changed, and I think this one should be down the line. However, I can't blame them for being cautious, considering the upcoming launch of the Steam Deck.
Samsai Oct 15, 2021
Quoting: superboybotCrypto-based transactions are more complicated. I think that games that allow both buying and selling crypto-assets will descend into Coinbase with pretty graphics. However, simply using crypto as a transactional currency to purchase in-game items should be allowed. The only counterpoint I can think of is that regular people do not understand crypto enough to treat it responsibly. I believe there is some truth to that, but I can see this becoming less and less of a factor in the next year or two.
This is just in-game currency with more steps.
AussieEevee Oct 15, 2021
Quoting: WorMzyInteresting to see how a digital platform can be anti-digital currency. I wonder which government has been leaning on them, considering China's recent actions regarding bitcoin et al..

If I were to go down that rabbit hole, my guess would be the USA, but it could be any country as most of them don't like untraceable currency.

But I'm not going down that rabbit hole... my theory is that crypto has been too much of a problem for Steam users and Valve was forced to step in.

I think it's most likely the bad actors causing a "this is why we can't have nice things" effect.
pb Oct 15, 2021
Pretty sure it's for regulatory reasons and not a decision stemming from Valve's own philosophy. They're just covering their behind.


Last edited by pb on 15 October 2021 at 9:34 pm UTC
eldaking Oct 15, 2021
Quoting: katp32
Quote...they don't allow items that can have real-world value on their platform...
Are we talking about the same Valve here? Team Fortress 2 and CS:GO would beg to differ!

The issue is with how you could "redeem" the items outside the game for real money, and a bunch of problems it could cause. Valve has cracked down on CS skin gambling sites, for example. The terms of service probably also set some limits to what you can and can't do, though they might not be respected (like not selling accounts).

Most games with in-game currency state that you can't "cash in" that currency for real-world money. Even if you sell items in the steam marketplace, it shouldn't be possible to take the money out of your steam wallet, it is only store credit. (If you buy credit, you might be able to get a refund, but for things like gift cards or selling items nope)

The reasons are quite obvious: money laundering, gambling, scams. Probably illegal, but even if not I don't think Steam would like to kick this wasp nest.
denyasis Oct 15, 2021
If they can't fully control it, they can't squeeze profit out of it.

Once they figure out how to do that, legally, it'll be ok again.
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