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French Tobacco Shops Authorized to Sell Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies

Tobacco shops in France become the first brick and mortar stores to sell cryptocurrencies anywhere in the world.
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The tobacco industry in France is constantly looking for ways to hook new generations of smokers. Starting January, tobacco shops across France will add cryptocurrencies to their wares.

The French Federation of Tobacco Vendors, which represents over 27,000 shops in France has approved plans for its members to sell Bitcoin and Ethereum to customers. The plan will cover 3,000 to 4,000 locations in January, eventually adding others across the nation.

According to Europe 1, a France-based ratio station, tobacco shops will be offering cryptocurrency vouchers in denominations of 50, 100 or 250 euros (around $57, $114 or $285) starting January 1, 2019.

Phillipe Coy, President of the Confederation of Tobacco shops, told in an interview with Europe 1 that authorizing tobacco shop owners to sell cryptocurrencies will help modernize their profession.

A local cryptocurrency startup Keplerk has inked a deal with a cash register software maker to facilitate the scheme. Keplerk will allow crypto-enthusiasts to convert their vouchers into Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies and store it in wallets on the platform. It will charge a 7 percent commission fee on every transaction.

According to the Tobacconist Federation, there are 25,000 tobacco outlets across France. The scheme could potentially make Bitcoin more commonly available if a success.

All said and done, French regulators have warned the people of France about the potential risks associated with investing into cryptocurrencies.

“Those who invest in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies do it at their own risk,” the Central Bank said in a statement on Wednesday.

The news comes as cryptocurrencies experience a volatile downturn in 2018. Bitcoin, the oldest and largest cryptocurrency by market value, peaked nearly $20,000 last December, and lost three quarters of its value. It is currently trading at $4,500 after losing $1,000 in less than a week.

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