The INKIRI$ - two years on after my thesis

Mar Häusler • 5 March 2019

Inkiri Piracanga is an intentional beachside community founded in 2003 in Brazil’s northeastern coast. In the last thirteen years, it has become an international reference of alternative living, with its model based on spirituality and harmony with nature. Today, the INIKIRI community has around 50 members, while the ecovillage around it houses 250 people and receives over two thousand visitors a year, running projects connected do nature, education, self-knowledge and the arts. 

In 2016, the community was ready to take another step into its self-sufficiency by implementing its own currency, parallel to the Brazilian Real, called the INKIRI$. The INKIRI$ was created with the aim of expanding possibilities of trade in the local economy, valuing individual and collective gifts and talents, reinforcing relationships and community bonds and encouraging the circulation of creative energy. I travelled to Piracanga as a social practitioner for my Economics for Transition thesis to help lay the ground for a new economic system there by establishing the INKIRI$ currency.

Two years on, the economic project has expanded from what was only a seed, an idea, to a working currency funding several new projects within the community. One of these projects is Ser Inkiri, a social and environmental impact investments fund that started in 2018 with R$200,000. Ser Inkiri’s main projects is the CSA, which empowers locals in and around Piracanga to do organic and local farming, mitigating the environmental and financial risks of traditional agriculture. The CSA already counts with the participation of twelve families. The Inkiri has also enabled a micro-financing program which lends money for people to buy tools for their work which in turn provides money for households. There have been more than fifty micro-credit loans over the past year, ranging from R$500 for cheaper tools to R$3,000 for more expensive equipment and machinery as well as health appliances. The INKIRI$ also powers a scholarship program for local children to attend school for free, and currently has two children enrolled.

Along with the currency, there has also been the maturing of the Inkiri Bank, where all the funds for community projects are managed, and where accounts are administered. Every project within the community has its personal account, as well as every individual who is part of the Purpose in Action Program (PPA). Eighty people now receive monthly salaries in INKIRI$ in their own INKIRI$ bank account, and can withdraw in INKIRI$ in cash. To facilitate all transactions and exchanges a mobile app was also developed.

An investment fund, Fundo Ganesha has also been established for community members who want to invest their money within the local economy. The fund works on a medium to long term investment basis, even though money can be withdrawn from the fund at any time. The fund pays 10% of the invested money annually in inkiris. Several community members are already investing in the Fundo Ganesha, which has been imagined as a strategy for community members to acquire funding to buy their own houses. 

In just over two years, a fully fledged autonomous economic system has been implemented in Inkiri Piracanga, one that keeps maturing and developing every day. Since conception, the organization of this system, called Floresta de Projetos (Forest of Projects), was inspired by the workings of nature. Projects are trees, that are born from a dream, which similarly to a seed, can germinate to become offshoots, leaves and roots. As in nature, projects may become any plant, big or small, but for all developments time, love, and dedication is needed. The Inkiri currency saw a completely new approach to organising the economy based around a natural ecosystem and grounded in the key principles of nature. This guarantees a system in constant evolution, with no fixed path set from the outstart. Rather the currency’s workings are flexible, taking shape by the very process which gives them life.