Valve appears to be banning titles with NFT and crypto trading from Steam

It's a Ponzi scheme, Charlie Brown

    
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Nope.

Saying that Valve and Steam have some problems is not a hot take. It is more of a lukewarm take, or if you want to be less charitable, a statement of fact. We all know that Steam allows some games on the platform that are transparent asset-flips or early access games never to be finished. What’s the line wherein a game becomes too much of a scam for Valve to allow it? The answer is apparently “cryptocurrency,” as Valve has made it clear that existing games allowing for NFT or crypto trading will be removed and other games will not be allowed on the platform.

It’s worth noting that Valve has not issued an official statement on disallowing crypto trading or NFTs from Steam, although according to the twitter for Age of Rust the rationale is that Valve does not want anything with real-world value being traded via games on Steam. This is a dubious use of the word “value,” but we’ll leave that alone. The change has instead come as a result of an edit to Steam’s onboarding page. It’s not quite taking to task all of the low-effort ripoffs that lurk in the dark corners of the service, but it does mean one fewer haven for blockchain enthusiasts.

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IronSalamander8 .

I’m no expert on NFTs, but between NPR having an article or 2 on them, and seeing how some of my artist friends are getting their art ripped off for these things, I have an extremely negative opinion towards them and would prefer for them to go the **** away.

Saluka
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Saluka

I welcome this because I don’t want those game to exist anywhere.

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wjowski

Good riddance. At least the porn games aren’t burning down rainforests.

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Bruno Brito

Valve’s intentions don’t matter to me here. NFTs are not something i want upon gaming and them taking those steps actually gives me a bit of peace.

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Ford Prefect

Not that I disagree, but why would it be so bad?

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Eugeniu INFO

I’m working as an Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Specialist in the cryptocurrency industry. For those who are not into it, I can say that each institution that hosts cryptocurrency and open-loop NFT transactions falls under the umbrella of AML regulations, similar to those applicable to financial institutions. To put it simple, the company would have a bunch of new, heavy hitting obligations. Here are just a few of them:
1. Get a license with the local regulator.
2. Monitor transactions on a regular basis against money laundering activities.
3. Perform KYC on customers (like asking for personal data and documents to verify it).
4. Report all suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit.
5. Screen against sanction lists.
6. Implement the travel rule, meaning that a certain set of data about the destination has to be collected from the sender.
And so on and so forth.
Even if Steam would want to get into it, they would have to prepare a solid compliance framework and get a license. They would become a regulated entity.

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Harbinger_Kyleran

Great post, I currently work in sanctions screening from the Technology side and previously on KYC and AML applications for a major financial institution and am well familiar with the regulations you speak of.

Thanks for the insight on how this is being handled on the cryptocurrency front as this is just starting to touch the applications I work on and is a brave new world in terms of compliance and regulations.

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Eugeniu INFO

Hey, m8. Glad to be of use. I used to work in Sanctions too, before moving on to more AML-inclined areas. If you need any more info on the specifics of compliance in the crypto industry, feel free to reach out to me. Cheers!

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

Are they just cracking down on the security-like stuff that can get them regulated or are they banning all blockchain derived tech?

I ask because blockchain algorithms looks like they might be able to solve duplication exploits. Or at least automate the detection.

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partiesplayin

Good, I’m glad valve is protecting the community from these types of games. This form of currency does not belong in online games . If a company wants to make a game like this I’m glad Valve has chosen to keep it our of there store front.

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Greaterdivinity

I think they’re less interested in protecting players (see their lax response to gambling on the platform) and more interested in heading off regulatory issues before they start getting serious.

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Matthew Ward

It’s a rather inevitable fact that NFTs are going to be part of gaming going forwards.
When you strip away the scams, the wash trading, the tax avoidance etc, NFTs as art are basically perfect for in game assets….

I’d stick a hundo on one of the big franchises (COD, Battlefield, WoW etc) incorporating NFTs into their games in the next 2 years, with their own marketplaces

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Anthony Dixon

No. Oh god no. NFTs are the dumbest thing to come out the Multi-Level-Marketing-For-Neckbeards that the crypto sphere has become. It’s a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, and won’t exist, as it’s just another layer on top of existing systems that adds nothing but added cost.

There is precisely zero reasons for anything crypto to be added to games.

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Matthew Ward

Right at this moment, I agree with you. NFTs are in a terrible state because of the reasons I listed. But it is evolving and will settle into something genuinely useful.

You can already buy cosmetics with money, so I don’t see why there would be pushback on having unique cosmetics on an NFT storefront with an economy behind it for artists to get their work into games

Look at how amazingly successful Second Life was.. It had an entire economy of its own, made a lot of talented people a lot of money through their creativity and was the underpinning of the game to craft your own absolutely unique avatar, so like it or not, the concept of NFTs have already happened.

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Nathan Aldana

No, they will not. The entire point of the NFT is to get cryptobros rich by inflating the value of their currency. They have no use case outside that.

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Matthew Ward

Tell me you don’t understand NFTs and Crypto without… etc I can’t be bothered finishing.

Just the fact that it makes you all so angry tells me a few things. You missed the boat, you got rekt or you just flat out haven’t looked deep enough to understand it.
Either way, I’m early to the party.

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Matthew Ward

Not a bad jibe there fella :)
I’m happy to sit back and watch things unfold

When NFTs are in AAA games I might even mint your comment on to an in game shirt or something

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

‘Nobody but us can have any of the money.’

(For the record, I have no crypto, or any real idea what the heck it is, and all this NFT/Blockchain/etc is just weirdo talk to me, but I’ve read enough to vaguely understand the concept and they are basically trying to deny other people from trading their time value for game item value stuff.)

It’s one reason I’ve never got a Steam account and will never get a Steam account. They want a monopoly on it all.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

I’m… reasonably sure this isn’t the issue. Valve is actually pretty fine with letting anyone sell anything as long as they get a share and it isn’t in danger of getting regulated by the government. They’re nuking crypto currency because they don’t want to get reclassified as a bank/currency exchange, which would require a TON of legal stuff that is too close to “doing actual work.” They’re more than happy to let people trade imaginary Team Fortress hats for real money as long as A) they aren’t cheating to make them and B) Valve gets their cut.

And Epic would love to put a bullet in Steam and take their place as the “almost monopoly” king. CD Project Red just did… everything that happened around Cyberpunk 2077. (Possible crunch, executive meddling in development with an eye to pandering to investors over making a good product, LYING to the same investors, manipulating review scores by refusing to let anyone touch the last-gen console code until after launch, and pissing off Sony enough that they ripped the game entirely out of their store for a few months. Among other things.) Valve is just older than the alternatives, and therefore bigger mostly due to inertia. Each of the others is just as evil, in their own special ways.

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Schmidt.Capela

I actually find Steam preferable over most of its competitors (excepting some of the DRM-free ones like GOG). I utterly hate Epic, I find the MS Store DRM to be unworkable (it’s designed to prevent tampering with the game files, which makes modding require cracking the game), I don’t trust uPlay/Ubisoft Connect, I avoid Origin because it reminds me of EA killing of one of my then-favorite studios, etc.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

That’s the other side of it I’m not a fan of either…I’m tired of having to load up a launcher because they want you to be on THEIR launcher so they can put their ads in front of your eyeballs. At one time or another, I’ve been on, pretty much all of those (Except Epic, I haven’t tried that one yet.)…and trying to go through a massive sheet of passwords to find the one for that specific thing. My password sheet is so convoluted too, because they kept getting bought out/changing and I just kept changing them/altering it, and so there is literal ARROWS pointing at things and I’m now so confused about it all…tried re-writing it all and making a cleaned up page, but only made it halfway and my brain broke…

Ernost
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Ernost

…and trying to go through a massive sheet of passwords to find the one for that specific thing. My password sheet is so convoluted too, because they kept getting bought out/changing and I just kept changing them/altering it, and so there is literal ARROWS pointing at things and I’m now so confused about it all…tried re-writing it all and making a cleaned up page, but only made it halfway and my brain broke…

Why not just use a password manager? You’ll only need to remember 1 password.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

I mean, to me, they are all evil. Because greed is a sin as I was taught. (Seven deadly, last I checked.). It’s kind of a problem with the upbringing I had…but also, with the world in general…apparently everyone’s a sinner and we’re all absolved as long as we do something or other to ‘make amends’ for it…we’re all allowed to just keep on sinning…pft. :P

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Utakata

Can someone explain to me what an NFT is?

I heard BT rambling on about it in last week an ad hoc interview and it how was going to save the planet or something. Not sure it’s going to save anything if it gets banned by reputable entities…but there you go. o.O

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Greaterdivinity

Uh…basically a imagine a digital certificate that says, “This image of ‘dickbutt’ from Reddit, the popular meme, is the ORIGINAL image of ‘dickbutt’ and I am the owner. The 4 trillion other images of ‘dickbutt’ that are exactly the same are all copies, and I own the original.” That’s my best understanding.

Conceptually maybe not a bad idea for artists to be able to have their art retain value on the internet and earn a bit from each time it is sold to someone else, but the practical reality of it right now is it’s both a mess with rampant theft and fraud (there was a whole game based around NFT’s that sold tons of them and then disappeared without delivering the game) and largely seem to just be for the uber-wealthy to make some weekend-pocket change from other uber-wealthy people who have nothing better to spend their money on.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

The problem (one of many) is that the original artist often not only wasn’t the one selling it, they weren’t even notified. You might be the artist of the “first picture of dickbutt.” But I swoop in and slap an NFT on it and sell it for a million billion dollars. Of which you get jack and shit, and Jack just skipped town.

There’s also the issue that crypto mining is *intentionally* an massively energy consuming activity, and several towns in the US have actually *banned* crypto farms that set up in old factories when they realized that the crypto farming was sucking up three times as much power as the factory that used electricity to melt *metal* 24/7

There’s also a thing that’s apparently been happening lately where some of the entities that created certain kinds of crypto currency seem to have vanished, along with the bank account containing all the money.

Short version – to a lot of people NFT and crypto currencies look like a scam. And the stuff that *isn’t* a scam is just deliberately evil.

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soup4000

there seems to be some collective insanity going on, that NFTs do anything to establish ownership. so you have a token in a blockchain that points at a digital asset…. so what?

its like buying a certificate from a website that says you own a plot of land on the moon. outside of that website, it has no merit, and no one cares

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Greaterdivinity

Yup, except being the “original owner” of the “dickbutt” image on Reddit is way less cool than having a star named after you!

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Nathan Aldana

The insanity is because people realized if they convince other people to buy in, this artifically inflates the value of cryptocurrency used to buy NFTs, thereby making them richer by convincing other people this is a hot market to buy into.

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Arktouros

I found this article pretty useful when I wanted to know.

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Utakata

…I think we should always question something if it has “fungible” in it. It sounds like it’s about to sprout mushrooms in a bad way when the lights get turned off. o.O

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Arktouros

I like learning new words that are similar, like queue and cue :)

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Bruno Brito

Basically, it’s a “token of ownership”, kinda like a bill of purchase but without a shred of legal value. It’s a token that shows you that you bought a specific digital assed in a random database. It’s extremely unsafe, and quite honestly, the moment someone explained to me, it sounded like tax evasion at it’s finest.

Imagine that you go to Blizzard, and they sell you one of the game’s fruit painting ( terrible example but stick with me ). Since the game won’t change for you, they’ll give you a digital token that “proves” that you own the painting. Thing is, any dickwad can screenshot the picture that you paid for, and there isn’t a guarantee that Blizzard database will ever keep that fruit in the game.

Now, imagine that you paid a lot of money for this crap, and the entire process burned enough fossil fuels to power an entire city for one month. And your money went to a techbro imbecile that will use that money to try to sell more tokens to vulnerable people and “reinvest” into propaganda.

It has the entire structure of a pyramid scheme, and the product is not even a product. We really achieved full idiocy here.

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Utakata

…yeah, I was getting a lot of Amway vibes off of this when hearing about it. Glad I wasn’t the only one.

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Bruno Brito

Also, it’s a plague upon the art community. A lot of artists have had their arts minted and “sold” without permission. It’s the cheapest and most dumb way of art theft i’ve seen in years: Someone mints your art and sells “prints” ( screenshots ) of it. Like, imagine, if you will: Someone paid 10k to have a token that they own a print of your stuff on a random database somewhere and you never saw a slice of that money.

It’s incredibly dumb.

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Arktouros

All of this is true but it also assumes the worst case scenario that it’s all meant as a scam to take people of their money. For example this article has a more optimistic outlook on NFTs and their potential impact on gaming.

With MMO games right now if you read the fine print you own nothing. Even if you end up pouring hundreds or thousands of dollars towards the company for goods/services in game you own none of it. However if games start selling goods or services as NFTs then you actually do own it and it becomes kinda interesting from a thought experiment perspective. Like think about the topic of lockboxes. The main argument they can get away with such things as not gambling is none of what you’re buying has real world value because you don’t own any of it. But what if you did because things were sold as NFTs? Now that they have value as property are they subject to gambling laws? What if you could legally resell the goods you’ve bought as NFTs as well without the company able to ban you? Naturally companies might shy away from such practices because of this, but what if players started only playing games where they owned their characters, gear, and otherwise as NFTs?

It’s an interesting thought concept to me personally but it’s also like Pandora’s box of legal ramifications as well which is why Valve is likely just like “NOPE.”

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Bruno Brito

This is a interesting discussion for sure, but i’m jaded because NFTs/Crypto are rampant with both potential for exploitation and also real exploitation.

There are two differences i see between cryptocurrency/NFTs and games storefronts with their own currency and virtual items.

The first one is that you do own said items in games, even if they’re virtual. You get to enjoy them. When you buy a hat in TF2, you GET the hat, you don’t get a token that you own it, you get the item itself. It’s like buying a cellphone and finding that inside, there’s a picture of the cellphone saying “you own it! :)”. I’ve seen people sent to jail here for less.

Secondly, i’m just not a fan of crypto in general, and while there could be a discussion between the thousand upon thousands of currencies in gaming storefronts, the usability is different. The more i think about crypto, the more i think it’s just some people’s way of saying “let’s make new money in a more portable way but without paying a dime to governments”. But then you consider how that money value is achieved ( through virtual scarcity ), and the impact is just not worth it. Money itself has a lot of issues coupled with it, crypto solves very few of the problems and creates even worse problems. And gaming storefronts are not really trying to make their currency into a coin, really.

I would argue that anything that makes speculation way more rampant and uncontrollable than already is, is not a good idea. And really, if your monetary resource fluctuates not by the hands of governments and banks but by the whims of Elon Musk, what did you achieve, really?

The more i see about crypto, the more it just sounds like a fancy, hot nerdy way of what already happens a lot in elite art circles: You see dubious art being bought all the time for exorbitants ammounts of money ( hundreds of thousands for a banana taped to a wall ), and it’s simply money laundering.

There’s absolutely no reason crypto should have value, and the value is achieved through highly damaging means. I wouldn’t bat an eye if this crap were to get heavily regulated throughout the world.

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Arktouros

Again if you read the fine print in most games with stores and otherwise you actually don’t own things. It’s more like a licensing agreement than ownership in that you paid money to be allowed to use your hat as much as you want. However you do not own that hat, virtually or otherwise. This is essentially the argument that lets big corpos get away with the argument that nothing in these games has value and therefore isn’t gambling if they use RNG mechanics. It’s similar also to the argument game corpos made about reselling games to stores like GameStop and what not. It’s also in vein with the whole you don’t have the rights to stream a game you supposedly “own” (because again you don’t actually own it).

Really the whole concept of ownership is incredibly interesting when it comes to gaming. While I’m similarly not a fan of crypto, the concept of owning things is really wild considering we have basically zero power/ownership at this time.

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Utakata

Thanks to everyone who took the time to explain this all to me. And as I suspected, it sounds more shifty than a $3 bill. So I won’t be investing my art assets into this scheme anytime soon and for the ages.

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Does not check email

Most importantly of all this – this is dickbutt

EEFB63DD-99F6-4A61-B341-3A7C06D33032.jpeg
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Utakata

…where folks can “make” money off of public bathroom scrolls it seems. o.O

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Mark Mealman

The US has heavy regulations when it comes to financial trading and those are being applied to crypto on a more regular basis. Valve is going to avoid a lot of legal hassles if they just don’t list games that use crypto.

For example, using crypto to ‘startup’ a game would likely require you to be an accredited investor in the US market to buy into their coin. Many crypto exchanges block US customers because of this requirement and I can absolutely see people trying to find creative ways around these blocks.

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Arktouros

Plus, ya know, the whole money laundering thing.