October 31, 2022

Why Does Steam use Trade Hold?

Games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Team Fortress, PUBG, and other titles created a massive demand for in-game items, especially the well-sought-after skins.

An entire economy was created based on skins, especially gambling sites that offer huge bonuses to attract new players, such as no-deposit bonuses, the CSGO Luck promo code, or even free skins or cases.

Users must be aware of the Steam Trade Hold when it’s time to trade the skins. Read on to understand how the Steam Trade Hold works.

Explaining the Steam Trade Hold

The Steam Trade Hold was introduced back in November 2015. In essence, this functionality works as an escrow system for in-game items. When Steam users trade items with other users with only the Steam Guard tool enabled, the trade can be placed on hold for up to 15 days.

If the two traders have been friends and engaged in trading for over one year, the hold will last a single day instead. Users who want to avoid waiting too long must understand the importance of the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator.

Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator

The Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator is a two-factor authentication tool associated with the Steam Mobile App. The key premise is to provide users with an additional layer of security by generating a unique code required to log on to the account.

After enabling the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator, users have more freedom to trade.

In a trade where both parties have enabled the authenticator for at least seven days, the platform will not put the trade on hold, and the items will be exchanged as soon as both sides confirm the trade – regardless of friends’ status.

Unfortunately, users who cannot secure their accounts on Steam with the mobile authenticator need to endure the temporary trade hold. The reason behind the existence of this mechanism is to protect items if a user’s account is invaded or hacked.

This tool also allows users to recover items before they are lost forever. For example, even if a hacker attempts to invade an account and succeeds, the true account owner can check the items on hold and cancel all trades to prevent skin theft.

Are Gifts Subject to the Steam Trade Hold? 

Another possibility to circumvent the Steam Trade Hold is to give items without receiving anything in exchange, which is a gift. If you want to give an item to a friend for free, you just need to confirm the trade offer, and Steam will automatically process the gift.

Trade Hold vs. Market Hold

Similar to Trade Holds, Steam also applies a Market Hold to all offers created on the platform before they become available on the Steam Market. The goal is to protect the users’ inventories from becoming easy prey for cybercrime and skin thieves.

Users who have not secured their accounts using the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator must endure a hold period where they have sufficient time to double-check whether their accounts have been hacked and items have been stolen.

After creating an offer for an item, users which did not enable the platform’s mobile authenticator within the last seven days must wait at least 15 days until the item leaves the inventory to be listed on the Steam Market.

In case of hacker attacks or invasion, the user simply needs to change the password and cancel the pending item offers on hold. While these security measures do not please all users, they were efficient enough to lower the frequency of fraudulent trades.

As always, the Steam Market advises all users to take the necessary precautions to prevent scams and theft, especially relying on the two-factor authentication tool available on Steam Mobile and checking all trade offers manually.

Steam Trade Hold & the Global Skin Economy 

While the introduction of the Steam Trade Hold impacted the skin economy, the market eventually bounced back and manage to survive the harsh adaptations. Before the Trade Hold, users could freely trade skins with no restrictions whatsoever.

Nonetheless, the growing number of scams and frauds led Steam to put all transactions under further scrutiny, introduce two-factor authentication, and put trades on hold to give users sufficient time to check them in detail.

About the author 

Peter Hatch

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