According to Reuters, French fintech company Keplerk is backing six tobacco shops in Paris and nearby regions, that are now selling Bitcoin.
The company hopes to enroll 6,500 more Tabacs by February, potentially fueling a new wave of crypto adoption in the country.
Trusting Your Local Tobacco Shop
According to Adil Zakhar, the co-founder of Keplerk, it could be difficult for some people to buy Bitcoin online. “They trust their local tobacco shop owner more than they would trust some remote anonymous website,” he said.
The company secured a contract with a local cash-register software provider last year, which included an option for Tabac shops.
These shop owners will be able to sell vouchers that can be redeemed for Bitcoins.
The coins will be stored in an electronic wallet available on Keplerk’s website.
Though the shops are not selling Bitcoins directly, they are providing users with an option that makes buying crypto easy.
Some industry experts are criticizing the plan and say that buying Bitcoin online is faster and cheaper.
Dwindling Sales Lead to Diversification
France is the home to about 24,000 licensed tobacco shops which have seen decreased Tobacco sales.
These shops have now started diversifying by offering a variety of new products including cellphone credits, money transfer services, and prepaid credit cards.
One of the first crypto shoppers called Cyril Azria said that he would use Bitcoin to “buy some computer material” and with leftovers he would speculate in the market.
He bought 150 euros worth of Bitcoin, adding that it was a good time to buy.
Note that the value of Bitcoin has fallen by over 70 percent from its all-time highs of $20,000 about a year ago.
Crypto enthusiasts are holding on to their coins in the hope of better adoption and a second bullish run in the near future.
French regulators have been somewhat hawkish on cryptocurrencies and warned against buying these highly volatile and unregulated digital assets in November last year.
However, they have not interfered with Keplerk’s plans yet.
With Bitcoin’s increased exposure to the French market through Tabac shops combined with the ongoing yellow vest protests against President Macron’s green tax on diesel, the anti-establishment sentiment is growing stronger which could foster crypto adoption.
There were reports that about 70% of French citizens withdrew all their money from banks to destabilize the system. In times of political turmoil, Bitcoin could be seen as a better alternative option for some people.