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Tobacconists in France are reportedly going to be selling bitcoin to the public from New Year.

According to France-based radio station Europe 1, tobacco retailers will be offering bitcoin vouchers in denominations of 50, 100 or 250 euros (around $57, $114 or $285) from Jan. 1, 2019.

Local crypto startup Keplerk is said to have signed a deal with a cash register software provider to facilitate the scheme. Keplerk will allow customers to convert their vouchers into bitcoin and store it in wallets on its platform.

Initially, some 3,000–4,000 tobacco shops will be selling the vouchers, with others likely to be added later on, the report states.

“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,” Adil Zakhar, Keplerk’s director for strategy and development, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Keplerk will charge 7 percent commission on transactions to fund the operation, the news source adds.

The French central bank issued a statement Wednesday, denying some reports that it has signed no agreement with tobacconists to allow the sale of bitcoin. It further warned that cryptocurrencies are “purely speculative and are not currencies” and that those who wish to invest in bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency “do it entirely at their own risk.”

There are 25,000 tobacco outlets across France, according to the tobacconist federation's website, potentially making bitcoin widely available if the scheme is a success.

The news comes as bitcoin is experiencing a significant downturn in prices. The oldest and largest cryptocurrency by market value, which peaked at nearly $20,000 last December, is trading around $4,500 currently after losing around $1,000 in less than a week.

Tobacco shop sign image via Shutterstock


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