Funny Money

Is there really a difference between the “real” world currencies we use everyday and their funny-money alter egos used online in virtual worlds?

The Hague, NETHERLANDS: Visitors work on a computer in the Hague, 19 March 2007 as the picture of the virtual beach pavilion of the Hague created by Second Life appears on a monitor screen — ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/Getty Images

By Edward Castronova

In 1979, Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw, two undergraduates at the University of Essex, wrote a computer program called MUD: Multi-User Dungeon. If you…