French tobacco retailers in Paris are now selling Bitcoin in spite of fears from regulators, according to Reuters.
Six ‘Tabac’ shops are reportedly selling Bitcoin, with customers able to purchase the cryptocurrency in 50, 100, or 250 euro increments.
The decision to sell Bitcoin in tobacco stores has been led by French fintech start-up Keplerk, who hope to enroll 6,500 Tabac stores by February.
Adil Zakhar, one of Keplerk’s co-founders, told Reuters: “Some people find it complicated to get Bitcoins online. They trust their local tobacco shop owner more than they would trust some remote anonymous website.”
— Keplerk (@keplerk_) January 9, 2019
The company signed a deal with a local cash register software provider in Q4 of last year. The partnership enables Tabac owners to sell vouchers redeemable for Bitcoins in a wallet on Keplerk’s website.
French stock market regulator the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF) and the country’s central bank issued a warning about “speculative” crypto assets in late 2018.
“The Banque de France has issued several warnings on the use of crypto-assets; these caveats are still relevant. These are purely “speculative” assets and are not currencies. Those who invest in Bitcoin as in other crypto-actives do it entirely at their own risk,” the warning stated.
However, they haven’t prevented Keplerk’s launch or the planned expansion next month, suggesting that they may be taking a more relaxed view on cryptocurrencies.
Threatened by falling tobacco sales, Tabac retailers have been forced to innovate by selling products such as prepaid credit cards, mobile phone credits, and money transfer services like Western Union. Bitcoin is the latest product to launch in a move that’s expected to encourage revenue from retailers.