France's struggling tobacco shops have something new to tempt customers with: bitcoin.
Customers in some of the so-called tabacs can now buy the cryptocurrency alongside their cigarettes, cigars, and lottery tickets.
The idea came from local fintech company Keplerk:
(SOUNDBITE) (English) DEVELOPMENT MANAGER OF KEPLERK, ADIL ZAKHAR, SAYING:
"The bitcoin concept and blockchain is quite complicated. And then buying or purchasing bitcoin is another step of complication. So we cannot simplify bitcoin and blockchain but what we are able to do is simplify the process of purchasing it."
Tabacs have been hit by dwindling tobacco sales.
Now owners of the shops can sign up to sell vouchers redeemable for bitcoins.
So far, it's just six stores in and around Paris.
But Keplerk aims to sign up more than 6,000 by February - a quarter of France's licensed tobacco shops.
Some customers are keen:
(SOUNDBITE) (French) CUSTOMER, CYRIL AZRIA, SAYING:
"It much better in terms of prices and it's easier in terms of the transaction. At least you're sure not to be giving your bank card details to malicious websites"
The value of bitcoin shot up to almost $20,000 in 2017, but it has since dropped to less than a quarter of that value, leaving many skeptical.
(SOUNDBITE) (French with English VO) FINANCIAL ADVISOR, VINCENT TARRIDE, SAYING:
"I will never buy it because I'm trained in finance and therefore, for me, finance must be transparent, clear and structured. And this is not clear or transparent and when you see how volatile the prices are, you wonder whether there is actually a structure behind it all or if it's not just gamblers making bets in order to make money."
French regulators have warned customers against buying the unregulated cryptocurrency.
So far though, there's no law against picking up a bitcoin with your cigarettes.