Convenient Stores Across France To Begin Selling Bitcoin Via Vouchers
As reported via France-based Europe 1, tobacco shops will offer Bitcoin (BTC) through a partnership struck with Keplerk, a French-based fintech startup.
Per the news, tobacco retailers will offer Bitcoin in the form of 50, 100, and 250 euro-denominated vouchers.
The offering will rely on the Keplerk partnership, which incorporates a deal with a cash register and software provider company. The software provider’s infrastructure will be utilized to facilitate the selling of Bitcoin to customers of the specified cigarette shops.
As per the partnership, the tobacco shops will provide Bitcoin vouchers to their customers, which the customers can then redeem for bitcoin using Keplerk’s crypto wallet.
Keplerk has said that this venture is the first of its kind in the world in which brick and mortar shops have the opportunity to sell BTC to the public.
The venture will involve an initial 3,000–4,000 tobacco shop, with more, reportedly being added later on in the year.
According to the tobacconist federation, there are nearly 25,000 tobacco shops in France, a scenario that makes access via the scheme a potential boost for the top crypto’s adoption.
Adil Zakhar, Keplerk’s head of strategy and development, said that choosing the tobacco shops was down to the outlets’ established networks and reputation among customers. He noted that:
“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.”
Keplerk is set to charge a 7 percent spread on Bitcoin purchases according to local news reports. The spread will likely shrink as time passes and more competition arrives.
French regulator says crypto ‘purely speculative’
Earlier reports had claimed that the French central bank, Banque de France had green-lighted the move via its subsidiary Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR).
Contrary to that, the bank has moved to distance itself from the purported deal, emphasizing that it did not sign an agreement with the tobacco shops nor did it endorse the deal, it simply permitted it.
Underscoring its skepticism, the bank clarified that ACPR approved the tobacco shop and Keplerk partnership independently and that this should not be misunderstood as implying that the central bank has given the Keplerk project a thumbs up.
France’s top bank also used the forum to further caution the general public about cryptocurrencies, referring to the digital assets as “purely speculative” and that “those who invest in bitcoin or other crypto-assets do it at their own risk.”
Cryptocurrency growth ‘inevitable’
Regulatory antipathy to crypto assets is not exclusive to the French regulator, with many governments around the world grappling with the matter.
However, the situation is likely to become more accommodative in the country following a series of positive reports. As the use of digital currencies gains traction in France, a July report on the state of cryptocurrencies in the country opines that:
“The right approach is to let the crypto-currencies and the innovations they carry develop in the virtual space they occupy.”
Accordingly, Europe 1 highlighted that ACPR’s authorization of Keplerk and the tobacco shops for the sale of Bitcoin is not down to regulators suddenly becoming friendlier to crypto, but perhaps out of a realization that Bitcoin’s growth is inevitable.
Despite apparent growth in adoption, Bitcoin recently suffered from a massive market sell-off, with its price taking a significant tumble to hit a low of $4,167, the lowest in over a year.
The top coin has since climbed to currently trade at $4,400 against the U.S dollar, though that is way off its peak of $20,000 reached in December 2017.
Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.