Bitcoin now Available for Sale on French Tobacco Shops

In an interesting development that will help the wide adoption of cryptocurrencies, six tobacco shops in France started selling the Bitcoin along with other things like lottery tickets, cigars, and cigarettes. The financial technology firm Keplerk, which took this initiative, is hoping that by February it will enroll as many as 6,500 tobacco shops in this program. The initiative to sell Bitcoin through the tobacco shops was announced in November 2017. Back then, the agreement between the tobacco Federation of France and Keplerk revealed that around 4,500-5,000 tobacco stores in the country would sell cryptocurrency directly to the customers. The customers were able to buy Bitcoin in the denominations of 250 Euros, 100 Euros, and 50 Euros. According to the news agency Reuters, the deal has manifested now in the form of six tobacco shops started selling the Bitcoin in the country’s market.

Personal Touch and Trust Issues

One of the co-founders of Keplerk, Adi Zakhar said that some of the prospective buyers find the online buying experience a bit complicated and trust their local tobacco selling vendors more than an online medium of purchase. As of now, people can purchase the vouchers and then redeem them on the website of Keplerk for the Bitcoin. Keplerk’s website will instruct and guide the people about setting a wallet in order to redeem their vouchers. The tobacco sellers are equally enthusiastic about this new initiative as they find it an attractive measure to complement their income.  As noted by Reuters, the sales of tobacco products, credit cards, cell phone credits, and other money transfer services are on the decline, and this explains the diversification path taken by around 24,000-strong tobacco shops in France. Cyril Azria is one of the first buyers of Bitcoin from a tobacco shop in the denomination of 150 Euros. He intends to buy some computer related material with the Bitcoin and says that it’s a good time to purchase the cryptocurrency.

Regulatory Concerns

This project of selling through tobacco owners initially got a nod from French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority which is the regulatory agency under the purview of France’s central bank. However, later the central bank denied any claims of giving permission to the promoters and added that it does not advise the people of the country to invest in cryptocurrencies.  Despite this whole controversy, the project went forward and finally now sees the light of the day. The people in France are increasingly embracing the investment in cryptocurrencies even as Central Bank of France has advised against it. Meanwhile, the country is reportedly working on the process to regulate initial coin offerings (ICOs) which are expected to boost the crypto market in the country further. It is important to note here that the UNICEF France has already started accepting donations in nine major cryptocurrencies in addition to the Bitcoin.

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