The cryptocurrency space in France is not as lively as one would expect. However, the few crypto enthusiasts will be able to access their cryptocoins via tobacco shops selling Bitcoin (BTC). This is a very important step in terms of strategy for Keplerk, the fintech company behind the initiative.
According to a Reuters report, French tobacco shops have a huge following, engendering a lot of trust. People go there to buy lottery tickets, refill mobile cards and, for those who smoke, cigarettes. Further, French media estimates that there are 25,000 tobacco outlets throughout the country.
Strategic Opportunity for Bitcoin Facilitated by Tobacco Shops
Interestingly, such commercial outlets are open for approximately 13 hours per day. In a week, some are open for the whole seven days while others open for only six days. Further, the outlets form a network that penetrates deep into almost every corner of the country. This makes the tobacco shops a much-valued network that can facilitate the availability of Bitcoin.
Therefore, Keplerk wants to leverage this trust and help the tobacconists to begin offering Bitcoin vouchers. According to Reuters, the initiative will kick off in the early weeks of January 2019.
Already, Keplerk said it has in place an authorization from a local cash register software provider to enable tobacco shops to sell Bitcoin. In particular, the tobacco shops will sell Bitcoin vouchers to the customers. The customers will then be able to obtain the cryptocurrency through an electronic wallet belonging to Keplerk. Interestingly, the success of the move will make it the first physical shop to sell Bitcoins globally.
Not All Are Onboard
Adil Zakhar, director for strategy and development at Keplerk, maintained that tobacconists are the best bet for this venture. This is because of the trust they command from the French public, especially regular tobacco users.
To help finance the initiative, Keplerk will charge a 7% commission of each transaction.
Interestingly, not all entities are onboard with the initiative. In a statement on Wednesday, the French Central Bank maintained that cryptocurrency is a risky venture.
“Cryptocurrencies are purely speculative assets and not currencies. Those who invest in Bitcoin or other crypto-assets do it at their own risk,” the statement elaborated.
Further, for tobacco shops to embark on selling Bitcoin at this time may not draw in the crowds. This is because the digital asset is still in a slide that began early this year.
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