Keplerk is developing a French solution which enables Bitcoin (BTC) to be purchased directly in tobacco shops. Launched in early 2019, the latter aims to democratize the use of Bitcoin (BTC) by making its acquisition simpler. We had the chance to ask all our questions to Adil Zakhar, the new CEO of the start-up made in France.
Hello Adil, can you present your journey in a few words?
After 10 years of working abroad as a manager in the hotel industry, I returned to France for personal reasons. I started to be interested in cryptocurrency from 2016. I wanted to be interested in more detail in the functioning of cryptocurrencies then I wanted to do something in this field before the peak of 2018. After Having met different people, I joined the Keplerk adventure, as strategy director and recently as CEO.
How many people make up Keplerk’s teams today? How is the project funded?
We are a start-up of around twenty people today. We have a great team of developers, without them nothing would be possible, they do a great job. Regarding funding, we have long hesitated to carry out an ICO, to issue a token or not. Time and the numerous scams linked to ICOs have given us reason not to realize them. We therefore made the choice to demonstrate the viability of the project. We are now waiting for the right time to raise a classic fundraiser.
As a French start-up, you are also part of the French tech label, are Bruno Lemaire’s declarations that wants to make France a “Country ready to support the blockchain revolution” felt on the ground?
What especially helps us is the implementation of the PACTE law and the status of PSAN (status of service provider in crypto-assets). The French Tech label allowed us to meet many interlocutors, these are quite heteroclytes. Out of three people, one will be pro cryptocurrency, another rather skeptical and the third will know nothing about it. We have a project that appeals to potential supporters within the French Tech label. However, we did not get support from the Bank of France (Laughter). Above all, there is a clash between banks and the government over cryptocurrencies.
Tell us about Keplerk’s project, how did it all start? What is the proposed solution?
The Keplerk solution was born out of the need for simplicity. With the growing interest in cryptocurrencies in recent years, more and more people are hearing about cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin. Many have a desire to acquire cryptocurrency. However, the major obstacle to buying is complexity. You have to understand what a cryptocurrency is, what a wallet is, what the trading platforms between CFD (..) and other trading products actually offer. There is also an attachment to a physical aspect of money. When I became interested in cryptocurrencies I had this same feeling of complexity while I know it at a technical level, so I imagine that it seems very complex for a beginner!
I can compare the purchase of Bitcoin (BTC) to a personal anecdote: when I was a child, I wanted to play the guitar, but my father told me that I had to know music theory first. I don’t play guitar today. Today you can buy bitcoin without going through too much technical learning thanks to Keplerk.
Keplerk therefore comes to provide a local solution to obtain Bitcoin (BTC). The tobacconist is a reassuring place for consumers, many users are used to buying cigarettes there, but not that there are long standing credit cards. In early 2017 the government proposed to tobacconists to diversify their activity in order to offset the increase in the price of tobacco. We therefore introduce Bitcoin in this diversification and have a proximity target.
Keplerk also offers a wallet solution to store bitcoin (BTC)?
The continued need for simplicity has led us to offer an optional bitcoin wallet solution. This allows beginners to acquire their bitcoins quickly. Our primary vocation is not to be a bitcoin wallet but as the need is there, we are improving the wallet so that it is simpler and faster for Keplerk users. On the other hand, we do not communicate the private key of the wallet in order to avoid beginner errors which inadvertently can confuse private key and public key. A private key published on the Internet and you can lose all of its cryptocurrencies.
Can bitcoins (BTC) purchased via Keplerk be transferred to an existing bitcoin wallet?
Yes, absolutely, our solution is very flexible. Once your Keplerk ticket is withdrawn from your tobacconist you can transfer the bitcoins to the address of the wallet of your choice. Those who have opted for the Keplerk wallet can also transfer them to another storage medium later.
The cryptocurrency industry is the target of numerous cybercrime attacks, what place is given to cybersecurity at Keplerk?
We give a very important place to security. Indeed, we have in-house cybersecurity specialists. We are regularly attacked. The last one lasted 10 days but failed to pass our first level of security. We are therefore confident in our ability to offer a secure service for our users.
As a new CEO, what development goals have you set for Keplerk?
Our development in France and abroad is underway. We are particularly working on developing our applications to provide the best service. Regarding points of sale, we now have agreements with 6000 points of sale. If all goes well, we will have 10,000 by the start of September. We also plan to deploy the solution in another European country shortly.
Soon other cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin (BTC) available for purchase via Keplerk?
We choose to confine ourselves to Bitcoin and to develop services around cryptocurrency. This choice is explained by our desire to keep simplicity for users but also for traders. For us, it would be very simple to offer other cryptocurrencies. But on the merchant side, they should train in different cryptocurrencies to provide explanations to customers which is not necessarily obvious to them.
Do you believe in the global adoption of Bitcoin (BTC)?
I will not be in good business if I do not believe in Bitcoin is not it? (Laughs).
My belief is based on concrete macroeconomic elements. Today the interests of banks and governments no longer converge. The latter no longer benefit from the current centralized monetary system as in the banks. Greece has suffered a lot, just like Spain …
What is your point of view on Bitcoin (BTC)?
Today Bitcoin has the potential to become a single global currency. Indeed, in recent years geographical barriers have fallen, it is easy to travel abroad, the phenomenon of globalization is real. A single currency makes sense. Classic currencies like the Euro and the Dollar are only approximations of the exchange values. Bitcoin is a tailor-made instrument to be an ideal currency, the price of which would be determined by supply and demand on the market.
Over the years, the currency has changed formats, from wheat to salt to gold then paper to a computer line today. The power of money is concentrated in a limited number of people. This is the blockchain revolution: giving back power to everyone. Imagining Bitcoin as a global currency is also an instrument of peace in the world by avoiding economic crises linked to variations in exchange rates. What is the point of dropping the price of a currency if it is the same for everyone?
The future of money and the means of payment is linked to popular sentiment of a loss of political control. On the one hand, declining states, and on the other, the GAFA showing turnover of the magnitude of national GDP. We can imagine in ten years the currency as being a grouping of several cryptocurrencies and tokens which would be representative of the interests of each. Thus, the gesture of payment would turn into a civic gesture. A simple way to express political desire.
Do you think the criticism of overconsumption of energy linked to Bitcoin (BTC) is still admissible today?
This criticism may still be admissible, but there are many ways to remedy it today. The first solution is to install Bitcoin mining fields in renewable energy production areas that have excess energy. The wind, hydromarine and solar energy production areas have surplus unused energy that could be used to mine cryptocurrencies.
The second solution would be to use the power of internet browsers. When using a browser, part of the energy is used to display ads. This energy could also be used to mine cryptocurrencies. The Brave search engine works in this direction and it is an excellent initiative, in the long term they will develop in a global way I am sure!
What is your opinion regarding GAFA’s engagement in cryptocurrencies, with the upcoming arrival of Facebook’s “Global Coin”?
I think GAFA’s interest in cryptocurrencies will bring agility and confidence to the cryptocurrency ecosystem. I believe in a global adoption of cryptocurrencies. However there are still many skeptics.
Cryptocurrency provides freedom and total control with a more efficient service than that provided by the current banking system.
Your forecast of Bitcoin (BTC) futures
Bitcoin is not intended to be an object of speculation, even if it attracts some. It was created to be a currency. Since 2009, the reactions are always the same, when the price increases everyone says that the price will soar “To the moon!” (Laughter) and when the price goes down everyone explains that it’s the end of Bitcoin! However the price increases, with highs and lows certainly. Financial analysis models predict that Bitcoin will go beyond 100,000 euros.
Your final word on Keplerk?
The service was launched in early 2019 and was a great success. The rise in the price of Bitcoin also contributes to the success of Keplerk. We had to stop the service in order to make technical improvements to operations. Version 2.0 is ready to be launched to allow a return of the Keplerk service during the month of June. A lot of work has been done for this new version in particular to improve the ease of use for customers.
Guillaume has been passionate about Blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies for 2 years now. He firmly believes in the massive adoption of these in the years to come. Eager for crisp news and always on the lookout for the latest trends in the cryptocurrency market, he enjoys sharing with you all their secrets!