Paris-based crypto platform Keplerk teams up with tobacco shops in France to be able to start providing Bitcoin to consumers in 2019. The Central Bank of France and the country’s regulators have already issued a warning to consumers regarding the risks tied to investing in cryptocurrencies.
With over 27,000 operators under its helm, Keplerk professes to be the number one digital currency network in terms of points of sale.
The company has already secured an agreement with more than 10,000 points of sale in France, which include tobacconists, to sell digital assets via Keplerk vouchers. At present, there are 24,000 licensed tobacco shops in the country, which also offer the sale of lottery tickets, credits for cellphone operators and even music and video streaming services.
Now, selling Keplerk vouchers will bring additional profit for tobacconists. Keplerk is also slated to fund the commercial undertaking by charging a seven percent commission fee for each purchase. In a November 22 report by Reuters, Keplerk director for strategy and development Adil Zakhar states that tobacco shops are the “first brick and mortar stores” to offer Bitcoin in the world, adding:
“Tobacco shop owners are the best channel as they are trusted by customers and they are used to sell vouchers such as credit for mobile phones.”
For a year and a half, the company has been gearing up for the endeavor when it finally got the chance to get to retail investors by obtaining a contract with a local cash register software provider. This enables tobacconists to sell Bitcoin vouchers to consumers. Customers may use the tickets to acquire digital currencies through Keplerk’s electronic wallet.
Beginning January 1, 2019, French tobacco shops will sell Bitcoin. Notably, a subsidiary of Bank of France, and not the country’s central bank itself, has authorized the business through a “prudential supervisory authority” and resolution. Initially, 3,000 to 4,000 Keplerk vouchers will be made available to tobacco shops.
In a statement, the Central Bank of France says that French authorities will not be overseeing the fiat-to-crypto transactions executed on Keplerk while retail customers are not protected by regulation. It further states:
“Those are purely speculative assets and not currencies. Those who invest in Bitcoin or other crypto-assets do it at their own risk […] No agreement is discussed or envisaged on the subject.”
Keplerk and tobacco shops will also serve as their own intermediaries in the purchase of Bitcoin vouchers. Banque de France does not have any “specific agreement” with Keplerk or the tobacconists.