Tobacco shops are a staple of daily life across France, selling cigarettes, magazines, newspapers and lottery tickets. But commencing January onwards, these traditional merchants will take a dive into the future by adding cryptocurrencies to their business.
The French Federation of Tobacco Vendors (“French Confédération Nationale des Buralistes”), which represents the 27,000 tobacco shops in France, announced that it has approved plans for its members to sell Bitcoin and Ethereum to customers. The program is expected to start in 3,000 locations in January, eventually rolling out to all tobacco shops across the country. Of course, the timing is somewhat less than ideal, as prices of cryptocurrencies have been in free fall most of this year.
This could make it easier for the the mass market to participate in or own virtual currencies. The program is being done in partnership with KeplerK, a Paris-based digital asset wallet and payment platform. Essentially, customers pay cash at a tobacco shop and receive a code, which they can use on KeplerK’s platform. The cryptocurrency assets will then be stored in their digital wallet on KeplerK.
“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,” Adil Zakhar, Keplerk’s director for strategy and development, said.
The development is just the latest sign of the growing enthusiasm for cryptocurrency and blockchain in France. The country is creating new regulations to support initial coin offerings, and the government has identified these technologies as critical to the future.