Beginning New Year’s Day next year, tobacco retailers in France are reportedly going to begin selling cryptocurrency. This is per a radio station out of France, Europe 1, which has stated that the tobacconists will be selling Bitcoin Core (BTC) vouchers in denominations of €50 ($57), €100 ($114) and €250 ($285).
The deal comes about due to a partnership with Keplerk, a French crypto startup. It has signed an agreement with a point-of-sale software provider and will provide a platform that allows customers to purchase BTC and store the digital assets in wallets on the Keplerk platform.
When the system is rolled out, between 3,000 and 4,000 tobacco retailers will have the vouchers available. In speaking with Reuters, Keplerk Director for Strategy and Development Adil Zakhar stated, “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.”
The transactions won’t be cheap, though. In order to fund the endeavor, Keplerk has stated that all transactions will be assessed a commission of 7%. However, the exposure is going to serve the cryptocurrency industry well. According to the website of Buralistes, the French tobacconist federation, there are around 25,000 tobacco retailers in the country. If the program is successful and is able to be expanded into other venues, it has the potential to boost cryptocurrency adoption.
There have been a few rumors that France’s central bank, Banque De France, had signed off on the Keplerk endeavor. However, it issued a statement this past Wednesday, refuting the rumors and reasserting its warning to investors that cryptocurrencies are “purely speculative and are not currencies,” and that investors looking to trade in crypto do so “entirely at their own risk.”
The bank’s statement is common among most central banks and is to be expected. In general, however, France has been more accepting to cryptocurrencies than other countries. This past April, lawmakers cut in half the capital gains taxes assessed on cryptocurrency assets and financial regulators have been working continuously to develop a framework that will allow the crypto and blockchain industries to flourish in the country.
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