France StartsSelling Bitcoin
An initiative to sell Bitcoin (BTC) in France’s 24,000 tobacco kiosks has tentatively launched despite votes of no confidence from the central bank and other sources.
6 Tobacconists Today, 6500 By February
As Reuters reported January 8 quoting organizer Adil Zakhar, six ‘Tabac’ shops in Paris began offering prepaid Bitcoin cards this week, with plans to roll out the scheme in rapid fashion to over 6500 as soon as next month.
“Some people find it complicated to get bitcoins online,” Zakhar told the publication.
They trust their local tobacco shop owner more than they would trust some remote anonymous website.
As co-founder of technology company KeplerK, Zakhar is presiding over a hotly contested move to bring Bitcoin into the French mainstream.
As Bitcoinist and others wrote in November, when the plan was announced, it met with opposition from parties including the Bank of France (BoF), officials denying they had sanctioned any form of Bitcoin sales by tobacconists.
This appeared to contradict the position of the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR), which operates under the auspices of the BoF and had given the go-ahead to KerplerK.
“…[N]o such deal is either being envisaged or under discussion,” the BoF said at the time.
Bitcoins And Bank Runs
The commencement of sales thus marks a further point in the confusing legislative environment surrounding cryptocurrency which has persisted in France.
At the same time, both Bitcoin and banks continue to hit the mainstream media for other reasons.
Earlier this week, Bitcoinist reported on a fresh project by political grassroots movement the Gilets Jaunes, organizers calling for a run on the banks this Saturday, January 12.
Aiming to pressure the government “without the least bit of violence,” the so-called ‘Referendum des Percepteurs’ (‘Collectors’ Referendum’) closely mirrors a similar event in the Bitcoin world from last week – Trace Mayer’s Proof of Keys.
Meanwhile, cryptocurrency users continue the search for a Bitcoin bounty hidden as part of a wall mural by Paris-based artist Pascal Boyart. An open wallet for contributions to the prize fund currently contains 0.287 BTC ($1155).
What do you think about France’s tobacconist Bitcoin sales? Let us know in the comments below!
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