The news that 25,000 retail outlets are ready to accept Bitcoin in France is bringing fresh hope to crypto communities worldwide.
It’s the sort of milestone that could change the approach that everyday people and lawmakers have towards digital coins.
French daily newspaper Le Figaro published a detailed article about the EasyWallet application and its collaboration with 30 brands in France. The project would make Bitcoin payments possible in thousands of locations across the country, giving it a high chance of boosting cryptocurrency adoption.
The new payment system is the result of a partnership between EasyWallet, Global POS, and crypto payment provider East2PlayPayment.
Top French brands ready to embrace cryptocurrency
The decision to accept Bitcoin payments looks to be more meaningful than just grabbing exposure for their brands. Most companies mentioned in the press release by Global POS are established and popular already.
Among the top brands that will accept Bitcoin in France are many international names including Sephora, Foot Locker, Decathlon, Maison du Monde, Intersport, Norauto, Conforama, Cultura, and Boulanger.
For some of these companies, this isn’t their first attempt at increasing awareness of Bitcoin in France. In 2018, cosmetic and beauty store Sephora worked together with Lolli to provide crypto incentives for clients who were shopping on its online store. Clients could then use the rewards to buy gift cards.
How the payment system will work
The creators of the project haven’t released all the technical data on how the payments will be processed just yet. However, from what we’ve seen so far elsewhere, nothing will really change for the retailers involved in the project.
Buyers will use Bitcoin to pay for their products, but the sellers will continue to receive euros. The system will automatically convert the funds as part of the transaction. This step helps to counter price fluctuations, as Bitcoin is still a highly volatile asset and often suffers significant price peaks and troughs.
French cryptocurrency exchanges Deskoin and Savitar will manage the conversions. Both platforms are currently working to obtain their Digital Asset Service Provider accreditations in France.
Bitcoin in France: 2020 boom?
So will there be a Bitcoin boom in France next year? It’s still hard to say, although conditions are certainly becoming more favourable for its adoption.
This year started well for French citizens interested in cryptocurrencies. In January, local tobacco shops reportedly started selling Bitcoin right next to cigarettes and lottery tickets.
Back in April, France held its first-ever blockchain week in Paris and adopted the PACTE law, the Action Plan for Business Growth and Transformation. The law is a set of measures intended to facilitate access to diversified funding for small and medium businesses.
Essentially, France created a more relaxed legal framework for ICOs, public listing, investment capital, and crowdfunding. In its current form, the Action Plan simplifies procedures for digital-asset providers that operate in the French territory.
Regulators still haven’t come up with cryptocurrency-specific legislation, and they continue to warn about the risks that come with speculation. However, more importantly, they don’t seem to be against mass adoption either.
While politicians have announced they would block Libra in France, they seem more likely to accept Bitcoin. And with so many brands ready to accept Bitcoin payments, the country could see a boom in 2020.
100,000 merchants accept Bitcoin worldwide
The number of organisations accepting Bitcoin payments is now close to 100,000 worldwide. That’s only four times more than the entire number that France will have next year. If the French model works, we could see more countries adopting the same strategy.
Until now, paying with Bitcoin has had significant advantages, such as reduced fees, near-instant transactions, and a lack of intermediaries. We still don’t know what benefits the French system will add or remove from the table.
The main thing that remains to be seen is whether enough people are actually ready to spend their Bitcoins on lipsticks, footwear, and furniture. It may be a doable scenario for those who get paid in cryptocurrencies – but is it equally advantageous for people who get their wages in fiat?
The Bitcoin pizza bought for 10,000 BTC nine years ago continues to be a valuable lesson for cryptocurrency owners. People who see Bitcoin as a long-term investment opportunity are less likely to spend it just because they can.