CS GO Case Keys are now officially untradable
In an attempt on Valve to fight against fraudulent networks of exploits that take advantage of their store and their myriad of digital game currencies, starting today, all CS GO container keys purchased in-game will no longer be able to leave the purchasing account. They will become both unmarketable and untradable.
Am i screwed? I have a LOT of keys !
No, this change does not affect the pre-existing CS GO keys. CS GO keys purchased today and forward on their IN-GAME store will be untradable and unmarketable, while the current existing ones on the community market will remain unchanged, so you can still buy tradable keys from the market. This is of course potentially great news for people like yourself who own a few or many CS GO keys.
Many of the keys have seen a price increase after Valve announced the changes. Many had 20-30 cents increase, while others 60-80 cents increase, even more. This is expected as the supply of tradable CS GO keys is officially put to a halt, indefinitely. This however is the reactionary response to the market change, this does not mean it will stay at that price.
So wait, this is good news?
If you own a myriad of CS GO keys in your inventory, your inventory value might've increased quite dramatically depending on the number of keys you own. As keys have become officially an item for personal use, this change separated the keys into two categories, the personal use keys that are no longer marketable or tradable, and the pre-existing keys that are unaffected, but will now be in a finite number.
This is of course not good news for Trading Cards. As CS GO keys had a relatively stable price, card exchange bots will no longer use CS GO Case keys for exchange. This of course will further elevate the importance of the TF2 key as they will be the main currency for card exchange.
The effect on fraudulent markets and money laundering
The main purpose of this change is to combat the fraudulent markets of parties using digital game currencies via tradable items to exploit and take advantage of it. While this might affect the bad parties involved in the market, it is unknown whenever it will be a negative impact for them.
As tradable keys become less common, their price could potentially increase exponentially. The supply will keep going down as the keys are no longer an infinite resource of tradable goods. A price increase could potentially mean tens of $, even hundreds and possibly thousands to less common CS GO keys.
This could mark many of the uncommon keys as collector items, while the cases for those keys will still be opened via personal purchases of untradable keys, the fraudulent market have evolved numerous times as Valve implemented restrictions, and while the parties exploiting the market will be affected, the market will adapt. This could mean the market will still make use of the potentially increased collector keys that could have a dramatic price increase.
Will this change be also done to the Mann Co. Supply Crate Key?
Unknown. Keep in mind that TF2 keys, unlike CS GO keys, are used as actual currencies in the Team Fortress 2 market. It is a universal key that opens a multitude of crates. It is very likely that fraudulent parties will migrate to the TF2 market to liquidate their digital assets. This in effect might prompt Valve to also restrict the TF2 key, although this is only speculation.
From someone like myself invested and done digital trading for profit on Steam, my experience on the economic market of supply and demand suggest the common sense answer that the CS GO keys will rise in price as time goes on. Numbers will keep going down as they can still be used to open crates, since the supply as mentioned above, is no longer infinite.
Is this an opportunity to make profit? People already made quite a lot of profit overnight by just owning the unaffected CS GO keys. The future however is unclear, as many factors could intervene in their price where they could NOT experience an increase, since the demand of marketable keys will be almost completely gone as they won't be commonly used to open cases anymore. One could purchase tradable keys right now from the market and expect them to rise in price as time goes on, yet again, the future is unclear. Such is the volatility of the economic market.
This could mark the start of Valve re-inspecting the entire trading market of digital goods on their games, as the restriction of CS GO case keys could potentially be just the start of future restrictions, as Valve might be planning on acting first on regulating their microtransaction market before the government does with gambling regulations.