Bitcoin Available For Sale In French Tobacco Shops Despite Regulatory Unclarity

Bitcoin Available For Sale In French Tobacco Shops Despite Regulatory Unclarity

Even though there is a vote of no-confidence from central banks, an initiative to sell Bitcoin in France’s 24,000 tobacco kiosks has been launched. There are already 6 shops selling it and is expected to exponentially rise to 6,500 by the end of the year.

French fintech group Keplerk leads the initiative of this project. When asked the reasoning behind this somewhat strange move, one of their co-founders, Adil Zakhar said:

“Some people find it complicated to get bitcoins online. They trust their local tobacco shop owner more than they would trust some remote anonymous website”

Zakhar has a point. The intensity negative coverage of cryptocurrencies by the mainstream media has people believing that the entire ecosystem is swarmed with scams, although the scams around cryptos are at an all-time low. Just a bit of education can prevent a user from falling victims to one.

Notably last year, Keplerk acquired a deal with a local cash-register software provider to incorporate a substitute for Tabac buyers to sell vouchers redeemable for bitcoins in an ewallet on Keplerk's website.

This helps with the diminishing tobacco sales. Tobacco products are in a spiraling downfall all around the world, especially due to the raised awareness and substitutes like e-cigarettes. France's authorized tobacco shops have broadened into products such as prepaid credit cards, cellphone credits, and money transfer services, apart from Bitcoins now.

The customer will be given a coupon card upon paying 50, 100 or 200 euros. This card will have a QR code on it. By scanning the code, the value will be immediately credited to the customer’s electronic wallet. Keplerk will impose a cut of 7% on every ticket sold, with the tobacco dealer receiving a stake of 1.25%. This puts a degree of separation from the kiosks and the buyers.

Although 7% fees is a very high amount to pay, that is the price one has to spend if they do not trust the normal online exchanges. This will also help with people having the first exposure to Bitcoins. It is also rumored that the shop owners will be trained to help people with the process of creating wallets and managing bitcoins in order to help the beginners.

French regulators had issued warnings to the general public to stay away from cryptos. Apart from that EU regulators are also not too keen on the technology. It is interesting that startups are powering through this despite the pushback.

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