Keplerk Criticised for Plans to Sell Bitcoin Through Tobacco Shops

France’s stock market regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) has criticised financial technology company Keplerk for collaborating with tobacco retailers in the country to allow them to sell bitcoins to their clients through bitcoin vouchers. The agreement with the France-based company is planned to come into effect in January 2019.

Keplerk had announced its collaboration with French tobacco retailers on November 23, which allowed the retailers to sell Bitcoin and Ethereum to their clients through vouchers, starting early next year. However, less than a week later the company has come under heavy fire from the nation’s financial regulator. The regulator argues that the Keplerk being an unregulated entity, would be unable to provide consumers with sufficient protection.

An AMF statement said,

PAYSAFEBIT SASU, which has a capital of 50,000 euros ($57,000), operating with the trade name KEPLERK, which is neither approved by a French nor a foreign authority, is not likely to provide any form of customer protection…KEPLERK must not be confused with companies approved in France such as Kepler capital markets as they have no connection whatsoever.

The comment solidified AMF’s stance on the matter. It should be noted that the AMF, although a public body, operates independently and safeguards investments in financial instruments and all other savings and investments as well as maintaining order in financial markets.

The regulator cited cryptocurrency’s highly volatile price as one of the reasons for its lack of security as compared to fiat money, reportedly stating that such digital assets are only meant financial experts and people with a high net worth, and not for “unsophisticated private investors.” In other words, the AMF warned people from looking at cryptocurrency as an easy way to get rich and see it as a highly complicated market that needs a deep understanding if one wants to use them.

The country’s regulators, though not banning it outright like China, has kept a cautionary stance against the advent of digital assets. Like most other countries acting upon the matter, the state may soften its position, but maintain strict regulation on cryptocurrencies.