In France, Parisians can now buy something else alongside the usual cigarettes, lottery tickets, and mobile phone credits at their local tabacs – Bitcoin.
Tabacs, or local French tobacco shops, have diversified into other convenience store services such as remittances to prop up dwindling tobacco revenue. Now, at least 24 tabacs have added Bitcoin vouchers as a new product too.
The service is led by French fintech company Keplerk. Customers who buy Bitcoin vouchers from a tabac use them to redeem Bitcoins from an e-wallet on Kerplek’s website.
Reuters quoted Keplerk co-founder Adil Zakhar saying, “Some people find it complicated to get Bitcoins online. They trust their local tobacco shop owner more than they would trust some remote anonymous website.”
Of the 24,000 licensed tabacs in France, he targets to have up to 6,500 tabacs on board by February.
France has warned the public against investing in cryptocurrencies, with CCN noting the French central bank deeming them to be “purely speculative assets and not currencies. Those who invest in Bitcoin or other crypto-assets do it at their own risk.”
However, they have not blocked Kerplerk’s tabac plan so far.