The French Tabac (tobacco store) is a national institution but next year is changing quite dramatically as along with your pack of Gitanes, morning coffee and perhaps a small cognac, you can now pick up your Bitcoin.
The Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR), the institution charged with monitoring the transactions performed by banks and insurance companies in France, has given tobacconists the green light to sell Bitcoin over the counter from the beginning of 2019 through Point of Sale (POS) locations at participating tabacs throughout the country.
The initial launch of the groundbreaking concept will see between 3,000 and 4,000 tabacs selling Bitcoin in amounts of 50, 100, or 250 euros. The firm Bimedia, a company which provides terminals for the collection of items at tabacs, has combined with the KerplerK cryptocurrency platform to provided the POS terminal system.
Customers will be able to purchase their Bitcoin using the on-site POS devices and then use an issued ticket to redeem their digital currency amount on the KeplerK website. Phillipe Coy, President of the Confederation of Tobacco shops, sees the move as a way of bringing the French tabac into the 21st century, suggesting that adding Bitcoin sales “brings us closer to modern times of consumption, and use”.
The tabacs offer a unique public service to French communities, particularly in small villages where they often cover for the local bakery and other services. Bitcoin would simply be one more product available to customers who are unable to have access to larger centers.
La Fédération des Buralistes (the Confederation of Tobacco Shops) offers KerplerK the potential for 25,000 POS for Bitcoin. The company has claimed that it currently has 27,000 operators and POSs which would make it a world leader in the field.
The French aim is still geared towards establishing a more global regulatory network as digital currency is used globally, not simply in France. The country’s Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, has suggested that the G20 need to reach agreement on how Bitcoin could be regulated among member countries.
Locally, the focus lately in France has been adjusting its tax system to accommodate cryptocurrencies, resulting in dropping the tax rate to 19% but this figure has recently been amended. It appears the French government is still struggling to adapt to the addition of digital currency to the country’s financial structure.
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