Buying cryptos when going for smokes is the latest development in France, where tobacco shops have reached an agreement with two companies to sell small amounts of Bitcoin, starting next year.
As a result of an agreement signed last week, the French federation of tobacco shops has obtained permission to sell Bitcoin and Ethereum.
UPDATE: Our initial report, following Europe 1, mentioned that the Bank of France had approved the sale. However, as Le Monde stated later in the day, approval granted by the French Prudential Resolution and Supervision Authority, which does operate under the control of the Bank of France, is not needed for this specific case. The reason is that the shops will be mere intermediaries as the cryptos will be sold by a partnership between the platform KeplerK and Bimedia, the second already providing payment terminals for the tobacco selling establishments.
Starting on the 1st of January of 2019, between 3,000 to 4,000 tobacco shops out of the 27,000 spread around the country will be equipped with software enabling their customers to acquire Bitcoin or Ethereum. The remaining businesses will be equipped with the software in the future, and the amounts of cryptocurrency sold will equate to 50, 100 or 250 euros.
According to reports in French media Europe 1, the regulator has acceded to the demands of the tobacco shop federation because they don´t think they have a choice, and given the large interest of citizens to acquire cryptos, they would rather side with the movement and satisfy the demands of consumers.
Regardless of the good news for crypto adoption, there seem to be political motives as well for the change in regulation. Apparently, the French government has aimed to raise the price of cigarettes up to 10 euros a pack in a matter of a few years.
Tobacco shop owners had previously threatened with a strike, which would reduce the income the state receives from cigarette taxes. It seems as if the new crypto business is also set to help in making peace with these shops.
As Twitter user @SonnyAD mentioned, tobacco shops in France go beyond providing cigarettes and are an important commercial hub in many towns and neighborhoods.
According to the 2018 Tobacco Atlas, French nationals consume an average of 1089 cigarettes per year per person, ranking above the mean for all countries. Will they now change their addiction to crypto?