In a move that will no doubt drive mass adoption amongst regular citizens, a French regulatory body has allegedly agreed to allow French ‘tobacco stores’ to sell Bitcoin over the counter.
In France, so-called ‘tobacco stores’ are an institution and act more like convenience stores, selling all variety of goods to local citizens. They often act as a lifeline of sorts, especially in small towns and villages, and have a federation that holds a strong influence over government.
It is believed that the move to allow Bitcoin sales was introduced almost as a peace deal to compensate for government plans to raise tobacco prices over the next few years – a development that aims to push the cost of a box of cigarettes up to 10 euro. Faced with the threat of a strike from the tobacco store federation – which would cost the government millions of euros in lost taxes – it seems that discussions were entered into and negotiations made.
The system to allow Bitcoin purchases in-store will initially be trialed at approximately 4,000 stores from the beginning of 2019. Software will be provided that will facilitate the purchase of small amounts of Bitcoin vouchers, from 50 – 250 euro, which can then be converted to real Bitcoin via an associated website. Should the trials be successful, the software will be rolled out to the remaining 23,000 stores nationwide.
If popular, the system will undoubtedly spark interest amongst casual investors who previously were unable or unwilling to investigate crypto purchases. Critically, a turn-around in the current market situation will be required in order to give new investors confidence.