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funny money

funny money: 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).  In New Zealand and Germany
   the odd usage `paper money' has been recorded; in Germany, the
   particularly amusing synonym `transfer ruble' commemmorates the
   funny money used for trade between COMECON countries back when the
   Soviet Bloc still existed.  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'.