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Funny Money

/fə-nē mə-nē/

n. 1. Notional 'dollar' units of computing time and/or storage handed to students at the beginning of a computer course; also called 'play money' or 'purple money' (in implicit opposition to real or 'green' money). When your funny money ran out, your account froze and you needed to go to a professor to get more. Fortunately, the plunging cost of timesharing cycles has made this less common. The amounts allocated were almost invariably too small, even for the non-hackers who wanted to slide by with minimum work. In extreme cases, the practice led to small-scale black markets in bootlegged computer accounts.

2. By extension, phantom money or quantity tickets of any kind used as a resource-allocation hack within a system.

Antonym: 'real money'.