French Tobacco Shops Set to Offer Bitcoin Buying Options in 2019 with Keplerk Partnership


The French should be prepared for advancement in acquiring cryptocurrencies following a deal between a fintech company, Kerplerk, and French tobacco shops. Besides enjoying a smoke and lottery tickets, customers will have access to Bitcoin from early next year.

From the 1st of January, around 3000 to 4000 shops will provide retail Bitcoin and Ethereum services to customers through a software provided by Kerplerk. The owners of tobacco shop will sell vouchers to give access to the digital currencies through Kerplerk’s electronic wallet. The coins sold will equate to 50, 100 and 250 euros. With more than 27,000 tobacco shops spread across the country, the future is bright for consumers.

Upon the announcement, cryptocurrency connoisseurs thought that the Bank of France had finally bowed to the pressure and approved the sale of cryptos. However, the bank clarified its stand, maintaining that it does not support Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. No agreement was reached between the Bank of France and the Confederation of tobacconists. In fact, the deal does not require the approval of the Bank of France, but that of the French Prudential Resolution and Supervision Authority.

The Bank of France has been vocal about its opinion on cryptocurrencies. According to the bank, cryptocurrencies should be called ‘cryptoactives’ because they are supposedly a vector for terrorism financing, cyber-attacks, and money laundering. The bank also maintains that cryptos are not guaranteed by any centralized body and are, therefore, not convertible to euros. Also, the prices of cryptos can fluctuate freely in the market and those who invest should do so at their own risk.

The agreement is between Kerplerk and Bimedia. The latter is the supplier of payment terminals in the tobacco shops set to conduct the operation early next year. The operation does not concern the tobacco shops owners, who will only serve as intermediaries. According to Adil Zakhar, director for strategy and development at Kerplerk, tobacco shops are the ideal channel because they are trusted and also sell vouchers, like credit for mobile phones.

Kerplerk has been working on the idea to sell Bitcoins to retail investors for a year and a half, and their dream will finally come true. The agreement will enable customers to convert real money into virtual money on Kerplerk. The customers will receive a ticket that they can validate on the Kerplerk website. The fintech company also has a mobile application downloadable on App Store and Play Store.

Bitcoin, which is the main cryptocurrency for the operation, has attracted a myriad of investors who believed that cryptocurrencies are the future of the financial world. Unfortunately, the currency has experienced a freefall and is currently selling below 4500 euros. Interestingly, the price had escalated to a surprising £16000 in December 2017.

However, in January this year, the price dropped to 5500 euros and stabilized for a while before dropping further to lower than 4500 euros. Kerplerk’s initiative to sell Bitcoin’s in retail is a crucial step in mass adoption but there is skepticism over the success of the idea, given the dramatic drop in the prices of Bitcoin.

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