Valve founder and billionaire Gabe Newell has commented on two of the most buzzworthy topics in the tech and gaming space these days: crypto and NFTs. Speaking to Rock Paper ShotgunNewell doubled down on his lack of excitement and enthusiasm for the crypto/NFT space, which should come as no surprise given that Valve banned games with crypto and NFT elements back in 2021.
In the new interview, Newell said the underlying technology here is “pretty reasonable,” but the implementation of what we’ve seen so far is not something the executive is interested in.
“You have to separate the underlying technology versus which actors are utilizing that technology,” Newell said. “It’s like, if you’re a chemist, and you’re looking at nitrocellulose, you’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, we can do some really interesting stuff with that.’ And then if everybody’s buying guns and shooting people with them, you’re sort of like, ‘Hey, this whole chemistry thing is great, but there are some outcomes that can be negative.’ Not to equate NFTs with shooting people, but the underlying technology of distributed ledgers, and the notion of digital ownership, and shared universes, are all pretty reasonable.”
People and companies involved with NFT projects these days are “not people you really are wanting to do business with,” Newell said, saying NFT technologies give bad actors a chance to rip off customers or take part in money laundering schemes, for example.
“It’s much more about the actors than it is about the underlying technology, or the rationale for what we’re doing,” Newell said.
As for why Steam does not allow cryptocurrency as a form of payment, Newell said this decision came down to volatility around pricing. Not only that, but cryptocurrency is often associated with fraud, Newell said. Some amount of fraud will exist on any platform, but Newell said the rates shouldn’t come out to “half of all transactions turning out to be fraudulent transactions.”
For more, check out GameSpot’s roundup piece to see where other companies stand on NFTs.