The túmin is a currency born in Veracruz whose objective is to support the economy of local businesses/producers that do not have the capacity to compete with large companies. Today, more than 10 years after its invention, half of the country uses the tumin: The currency that converts everyone into partners. Find out how it works!
The tumin was born in the municipality of Spinal in veracruzon September 21, 2010, within the framework of the bicentennial of the Mexico’s independence and the Centenary of the Mexican Revolution.
The idea was born as a project of the Veracruz Intercultural University, who undertook the task of studying the local economy in depth and found that although they were a very productive community (especially in fruit and vegetables), local producers they could not compete against the big companies and their products were standing still, without the possibility of commercializing them. It is there when the idea of direct trade and the invention of the túmin, which means money in Totonac.
Next, we present the story of an alternative currency with a presence in more than half of the Mexican territory and that proposes a new way of doing business between producers and small businesses: The túmin.
The story of the tumin
When the tumin began, in Espinal, Veracruz, there were about 25,000 people living. The tumin began to rotate with 35 members of Espinal who promised to receive the 10% of the sales of your products in túmin. When the society reached 100 merchants, they began to print the coin.
At the beginning, the associates were provided with 500 túmin when registering to be able to start making transactions with this currency, by 2016 this was no longer done. Every time the community of tumistas gains 100 new members, a printout is sent out. new circulation of 50 thousand tumin.
The túmin was thought of as a complementary currency to the peso that would promote and facilitate barter, an ancient activity that is preserved as a tradition among the Totonac communities. Originally, barter consisted of the equivalent and fair exchange of goods or products. For example: A coffee merchant who wanted to trade with a beekeeper could offer him a barter of 1 kilo of coffee for 1 liter of honey.
With the passage of time, the invention of currency and the arrival of capitalism, ancient customs such as barter disappeared or lost value for large producers. However, for small/medium companies and above all for local producers, the invention of the túmin and the values that support its use facilitate the marketing of their products; building increasingly strong and fair communities and economies where the goods that leave the community benefit it.
But how does the tumin work? And more importantly, how does the tumin support the economy and communities?
What is the tumin and how does it work?
The tumin has a value equivalent to 1 peso, however, it has never been intended to replace the official currency of Mexico in any sense.
There are currency bills with values of 1, 2, 5. 10. 20 and 50 túmin. It was created to support the peasants, the main producers of Espinal and the communities in Veracruz. The main proposal was to trade directly between producers with the help of a currency that facilitates “barter” and at the same time helps to earn money with value before the state (pesos).
The main rule is that a minimum of 10% of the price of your product must be accepted in túmin. For example, if you sell oil for 50 pesos, you must accept at least 5 pesos of túmin. This means that the use of the tumin means lowering pricesHowever, there is still a benefit and more importantly, the products and services are used.
But Where does the tumin come from? Who regulates it? Where do you get túmin?
With the tumin you cannot speculate, it does not generate interest and it is worth more if it passes from hand to hand during the exchange of products or services than accumulated. As in any economic exchange, each deal is different and the amount of túmin accepted depends on each tumist.
In the places where this currency is handled, there must be a Casa del Túmin, where the tumistas take their product to market with other tumistas. Honey, coffee, clothing, organic fertilizer are some of the products that are sold among the businessmen who run the tumin. In places where there is no Casa del Túmin, tianguis, fairs and markets are held to do business with túmin.
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What do people think of the tumin?
In 2016, 16 of the 32 states of the republic already had the presence of the túmin in their local economies. The communities of Xalapa, Coatepec, Papantla and the Port they were already driving the tumin, which had also reached states of Jalisco, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Puebla Y Chiapas.
during the same year the tumistas of Puebla They used to have a market every Friday. Silvia Morales, a tumista from Puebla, said for the Chicago Tribune that the túmin is, in addition to an agent of economic balance for his community, a philosophy of life.
If someone wants to buy me a jam that costs 50 and doesn’t bring túmin, maybe I’ll accept that I give them change in túmin so they can start having it.
The túmin, more than a complementary currency, because it does not replace the peso, is like a barter. It is to return to our origins.
Mar Jímenez, producer from Puebla.
This currency is a lifeline in voracious capitalism, where if you don’t have money, you don’t buy. With the túmin it is possible to acquire basic necessity products.
Berta García, tour partner
Also for the Chicago Tribune, Mr. Eugenio Pérez, producer of organic fertilizer and seasonal fruit from Oaxacasaid he became a partner after listening to the tumistas talk about the economy and marketing directly.
More than the monetary value, the túmin has the value of the illusion of people who fight, believe and think about helping. That is the value that I give it. A little more sentimental than economic.
By using túmin, a customer becomes a partner. Usually, competition makes one win and another lose, but the use of this currency promotes exchange, sharing and helping each other among merchants. Juan Soto, one of the creators of the túmin
Juan Soto, one of the creators of the túmin.
The use of the túmin has been misinterpreted when compared to the use of vouchers. Although it is true that when using túmin producers have to lower their prices, by participating in their exchange, one accepts and commits to give the highest quality in their products/services, as well as to receive them.
The tumin today
The tumin has value only among those who agree to make transactions with this currency; because although 1 túmin is equivalent to 1 Mexican peso, the former has no value before the Bank of Mexico and is not intended to supplant the country’s official currency, but rather to support the economy of producers who are looking for one more option to move their product.
In 2019, the official site www.tumin.org.mx (Not available) reported that there were around 1,200 tumistas in all of Mexico and 9 pulls of tumin. By 2022, it is estimated that there 2,500 tumists Y by 2023, the tumin was already present in 24 of the 32 Mexican states with son 2,800 businesses that participate in the tumin exchange.
At present, different states of the republic such as Morelos, Chiapas, Oaxaca and Veracruz They already print their own túmin for each region and each ticket is registered with a stamp, folio and print run. Any type of product or service is welcome to use the tumin.
The tumin came under the magnifying glass of the law and the Bank of Mexico, but when studying the case, the authorities realized that the currency did not present a problem since it was not legal tender in Mexico; since article 234 of the Mexican penal code prohibits the reproduction of banknotes or metallic pieces, national or foreign, that have legal tender in the issuing country. In addition, the community that created the túmin is also endorsed by the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Communities to modify their economies.