French financial regulators and the national central bank have responded to the news that tobacco shops will start selling Bitcoin in 2019. In the post, they reiterate the risks associated with investing in or trading digital assets.
French Regulators: Crypto Not Suitable for Unsophisticated Investors
Cryptocurrency startup Keplerk has come to an agreement with around 10,000 real-world points of sale in France to allow the sale of Bitcoin via printed vouchers. Many of these are tobacco shops and if you’ve ever visited France, you’ll know they are everywhere.
Keplerk believes that tobacco shops are the perfect place to introduce a non-typical demographic than your average investor or cypher punk to Bitcoin. It stated at the time of the announcement that the owners of such retail spaces often had the trust of their clientele and were already familiar with selling vouchers for mobile phones and such to customers.
The idea is believed to be the first example of a true brick-and mortar retailer selling Bitcoin on the planet.
Today, a group of French financial regulators, along with the nation’s central bank, responded to the news. In a press release from the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR), and the Banque de France (central bank), the public were warned of the dangers of buying and investing in digital assets.
The statement went on to claim that such investments “are not well adapted to the profiles of unsophisticated private investors.”
Finally, the trio of financial institutions reminded all those deciding to take up positions using the Keplerk scheme or any other that Bitcoin and other digital assets exist outside of any regulated market.
Is Anyone Really Going to Be “Investing” in Bitcoin at a Tobacco Shop?
As France’s most senior financial institutions, it is obvious why this warning has been issued. However, that such a trigger as some of the nation’s tobacco shops accepting Bitcoin, has prompted its publishing seems rather ridiculous.
It is highly doubtful that anyone is going to be walking into their local store and buying enough Bitcoin via a voucher to put their future in danger. Instead, it seems far more realistic that the services will be used by those intrigued by the very concept of crypto to get a feel for it or by people wanting to make small purchases and use niche services that require BTC or another token.
However, the news that the regulators have not tried to stamp out the brick-and-mortar kiosks by Keplerk is certainly encouraging. Such schemes are important for getting everyday folks familiar with the idea of digital currency and are crucial in distancing the connection many people still have between Bitcoin and the dark web.