French Tobacco Shop Wants to Get in On the Bitcoin Action as Regulators Want None of It


France has a service that is much like what the SEC is to the United States – the Autorité des marchés financiers. On Monday, this regulatory entity and the Banque de France released a statement about a present situation with KeplerK. The company has allegedly already received approval to sell Bitcoin in the country and will be doing so through tobacco shop operators.

The stance of the French Regulator is clear, considering their statement on Monday, which read, “Its distribution by a public limited company, PAYSAFEBIT SASU with a capital of 50000 euros, using the trade name KEPLERK, which does not have any authorization or approval by a French or foreign authority, is not likely to provide any guarantee to the customer base.”

They also warned, “[In light of recent announcements to offer cryptocurrency coupons in tobacco stores,] the AMF, the Bank of France, and the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority warn that the acts of purchasing, selling, and investing in Bitcoin are currently carried out outside any regulated market,” according to the statement referenced by TheNextWeb.

Much of the concern seems to be about the ability to maintain adequate liquidity to handle the exchanges by PAYSAFEBIT/KeplerK. S till, there’s plenty of ways to give the BTC to customers, so the question is whether or not the companies are prepared for legal action if they don’t perform well. Either way, the statement seems to only deal with the risk of cryptocurrency, and not any type of action that the firm faces.

During the process that KeplerK uses, the buyer will be issued a voucher for their Bitcoin. However, the AMF wants to make sure that any investors fully understand what they are getting into, considering the lack of sensibility that comes from using a coupon in this type of transaction. The statement reads, “Bitcoin is a type of asset, sometimes referred to as virtual ‘currencies’ or ‘cryptocurrencies,’ which currently exists in the world. It is exchanged online and is not directly linked to a physical coin or a bill. It does not benefit from a legal tender, unlike the currencies issued by central banks.”

So far, the website for KeplerK has no updates that would suggest that they are not on track with their plans. Along with their in-person exchange, the company has an app that is reminiscent of Coinbase. The AMF believes that this business might be confused with Kepler Cheuvreaux, which is an independent financial services firm that is fully regulated. Presently, there’s no information about if KeplerK intends to sell retail Bitcoin.

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