It is expected that cryptocurrency adoption will receive a new push in France next year. Tobacco federation, the Fédération des Buralistes, has received a permission to sell Bitcoin starting from January 1, 2019.
Tobacco shops in France have always been offering lottery tickets and cigarettes and now they are expanding their offering by establishing a partnership with Keplerk, cryptocurrency wallet provider based in France.
Cooperation with Keplerk
In the framework of the cooperation with Keplerk, from the very beginning of the next year, approximately 4,000 small tobacco shops will start selling special coupons for Bitcoin and it is expected that other tobacco shops will join the initiative a little bit later.
Then customers will have an opportunity to exchange these vouchers for cryptocurrency on Keplerk’s website if they have a wallet. It is planned to offer Bitcoin vouchers in denominations of 50, 100 and 250 euros.
According to Keplerk, it will be the first example in the world’s history when just ordinary outlets like tobacco shops will offer Bitcoin to a wide audience.
When asked why they have chosen tobacco shops to be their partners, Keplerk’s director for strategy and development, Adil Zakhar, explained:
“Tobacco shop owners are the best channel as they are trusted by customers and they are used to sell vouchers such as credit for mobile phones.”
As it has been revealed, the project will get its profit taking a commission fee of 7% on each transaction. According to the company, they have been working hard to obtain the necessary regulatory permission and establish corporate partnerships for more than 18 months.
Central Bank’s Stance
The project has received the green light from the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR) that is an independent authority working under the auspices of the Central bank of France.
Nevertheless, the Bank of France itself has a very different stance towards cryptocurrency in general and this project in particular. It issued a statement denying its positive attitude towards this new initiative and explaining that the ACPR had granted the permission to the project in its own independent capacity.
As a result, it was clearly stated that the Bank of France would not supervise the Keplerk project. Moreover, the Bank warned investors that their activities with cryptocurrencies could be very risky and could result in significant financial losses:
“Those are purely speculative assets and not currencies. Those who invest in bitcoin or other crypto-assets do it at their own risk.”
In spite of such open skepticism from the side of the Central bank, mass adoption of cryptocurrencies in France is on its way. In general, the authorities understand that Bitcoin and other cryptos have managed to become a global trend and it is much more sensible to accept this reality than to try to deny it.