Customers can now buy bitcoin at 24 French tobacco shops thanks to a partnership with the French FinTech group, KelperK.
This is according to a statement to French website capital.fr by KelperK however a conflicting report from Reuters puts the number of tobacco shops at 6. However both agree, that a KeplerK co-founder, Adil Zakhar, hopes to have 6 500 tobacco shops selling cryptocurrency vouchers by February.
It is possible that during the course of the day more and more tobacco shops have begun selling the vouchers, as according to Kelper’s site, at the time of writing there are about 30 locations offering bitcoin vouchers.
This is all possible due to a deal reached in November 2018 between a local register software provider and KelperK to give tobacco shops the ability to sell cryptocurrencies to their customers.
Regulation and trust in the cryptocurrency industry from the French authorities is low so some were not sure if the goal would be realized. That being said, authorities haven’t moved to block KelperK’s plans and many people are pleased that they can now buy bitcoin in their neighborhood instead of on an online exchange.
Adil Zakhar is confident there is demand:
“Some people find it complicated to get bitcoins on-line. They trust their local tobacco shop owner more than they would trust some remote anonymous website.”
To buy bitcoin customers purchase vouchers that are available in 50 euro, 100 euro and 250 euro amounts and come with a QR code and alphanumeric code. These vouchers can then be redeemed on KeplerK for either bitcoin or ethereum. There is a 7% commission charged by KelperK and they give 1.25% to the tobacco shop. The high fees have drawn criticism from industry observers.