The New Year will ring in good fortune for Bitcoin, as French tobacconist shops start selling the cryptocurrency from January 1st onwards.
Europeans will initially be able to purchase Bitcoin in 50,100 and 250 euro denominations from approximately 4,000 tabacs across France.
In exchange, the customer will receive a coupon to redeem for bitcoins online with KaplerK.
“The store own doesn’t need permission from the Bank of France to sell these coupons,” president of the Confédération des Buralists Phillipe Coy told Europe 1.
“Today, it is the KaplerK platform who gives authorisation.”
Bimedia, a point of sale platform, has also signed on to simplify the process. There will be no complicated wallet transfers, and buying Bitcoin coupons will be as easy as purchasing a magazine.
According to The Next Web, customers will need to share photo ID and personal information, not to mention a 7% commission fee. But if that’s the price of progress, sign us up!
A New Class of Investors
French tobacconists shops, called tabacs by locals, are a cultural institution. They are to France what bodegas are to New York – so much more than a 7-11 or Circle K.
Usually equipped with tables, chairs and sometimes televisions, tabacs are community gathering places to drink coffee, chat and smoke. People might spend all day interacting with friends and neighbours outside.
But how will the often older clientele feel about the bitcoin boom?
KaplerK has a pretty good idea. “Soon bitcoin will be sold in tobacconists,” the Twitter post reads. “The tabacs of my grandfather’s [era] are no more.”
Des bitcoins bientôt vendus dans les bureaux de tabac : "Le buraliste de mon grand-père, ce n'est plus d'actualité" https://t.co/kXumqFhiPu via @europe1 #keplerk #bitcoin #Confédérationdesburalistes #bimedia
— Keplerk (@keplerk_) November 21, 2018
This reflects a broader push in the industry to stay technologically relevant in the digital age.
“We are in the process of transforming [..] towards digitalisation,” Coy explained to journalists. “Our message is to be closer to customers.”
This plan has attracted its fair share of skeptics.
“Customers are meant to buy magic pieces of paper to be redeemed for cryptocurrency,” David Canellis wrote for The Next Web.
But as far as we’re concerned, haters gon’ hate. And come January, thousands of French people will have access to the cryptocurrency changing the world.
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Liz is a Canadian journalism student and content producer at Bitcoin Canada. Connect with her on twitter at https://twitter.com/Elizabeth_Utley