Time is money.
  The universal currency of the Chronotopia, Units of Time (or UT) is the heart of all transaction. More commonly called Ticks, it powers technology, births new life and turns a day into an eternity. Ticks are more than just money, but a measure of existence for the people in Chronotopia - caught in a jagged loop of infinity, there is nothing more precious than Time.    

Time Well Spent

  Most serious transactions in Chronotopia use Ticks, with barter and exchange of favors as distant seconds. Ticks are stored in Chrono-Tech containers that vary in size from pills to palm-sized, with more currency necessitating larger containers.
It is common for vast amounts of currency to be housed in much larger containers than is necessary, both to prevent easy theft and in ostentatious displays of wealth.
  Beyond bartering, Ticks have several uses in the Chronoverse.  

Additive Looping

  Tick can be spent to make the day-loop last longer. An hour of Tick spent means an Chronotopian has an extra hour in the day, layered into her existing loop. Moments extend to last a lifetime.   Most denizens of Chronotopia use Additive Looping. It is a everyday occurrence, despite the occasional clash when a long loop meets a short one.

Displacement Debt

  Even the shortest ride through the time-stream to another slip comes with a cost of Tick. Things that do not belong in another time occurs a displacement debt that can only be paid with tick.   The 'Relativity Effect' turns things that don't belong into things that do, but can be staved off with additional Tick. When things need to be changed, Tick is exhausted to make it stick.


  Time is the fuel of almost all advanced time-technology in Chronotopia. It allows new life to be birthed into the universe and time-streams to be maintained.   Chronomancers use it to power their abilities and everyone has at least something that runs on Time. Such uses are everywhere and every-when.


by Mathieu Latour-Duhaime


Common Denominations



  The smallest unit of time regularly used, Seconds are usually reserved for utility rather than transaction. A handful of seconds might buy a snack or a drink, or burned to extend a precious moment just a little longer.


  A few of minutes will buy a meal, ten or twenty a common luxury item.   Minutes are the most commonly used currency; small enough to not easily be missed but quickly accumulate.


  The largest currency commonly used, Hours buys expensive luxury items or useful equipment.   These are easily missed when spent and most try to keep their balance at a net positive.


by Mathieu Latour-Duhaime


Uncommon Denominations



  Days are a cost reserved for expensive and fine things or low grade weapons and armor. It is still within reach of most people, but not often.


  For most people, spending a Week is an event. It buys larger things of note or high quality goods like technology, implants or applications of Chronomancy.


  Vehicles, homes and Chrono-tech. Spending a month, let alone several, is a rare occurrence for most people.
Beyond these, there are Years, Decades and Centuries. These are almost exclusively owned and used by corporations, powerful factions and other influential entities within the Chronotopia. These are powers that shape the Chronoverse just by being spent.
In its raw form, Ticks almost never has a physical shape. It is a sense of Deja Vu, a sudden rush of memories or a sense of lost time.   Time crystals are the exception. These lattice-like quartz repeat in both space and time, trapping ticks within them. Time crystals generate spontaneously and unpredictably, making them rare and valuable.
by Mathieu Latour-Duhaime

Making Time

  With an eternity to spend, every denizen in Chronotopia has theoretical infinity during which to accumulate ticks. The truth is that not everyone's eternity is equal. Ticks can be generated in variety of ways, but they all rely on Chrono-tech and Chronomancy. It is a carrot that the various factions dangle in front of prospective recruits.   Without access to tick-generating technology, a Chronotopian face a very limited eternity compared to her peers.  


  All things have an inherent amount of Time, at once exhaustible and infinite. Siphoning takes Time away from someone or something, converting it into pure UT. Chrononauts hunt the timestreams in search of things with a high potential of Time.   Siphoning is a slow process that requires elaborate preparation and machinery. Setting them up in a distant time-stream can cost years.  


  The most common way of generating Tick for the average Chronotopian is to dislocate time from their current loop to transform into Time. So called "Sleep" removes the person from time for the duration they set aside and translate it into Time on a 1-to-1 basis. Like Siphoning, it requires advanced technology but is much smaller and portable.   A common practice is called "shaving", where people cull Seconds or even Minutes off hours or days to store and use later. It is especially common when preparing for some event or party.  
Sporting events almost always come with a Chronomancy cap, to prevent the wealthy from dominating through sheer weight of time.   Contest become not only a contest of will, skill and ability but of careful use of Time. Expert fighters can trick their foes into expending tick when they didn't need to, leaving them dry and vulnerable later.


by Mathieu Latour-Duhaime

Cover image: by Mathieu Latour-Duhaime


Please Login in order to comment!
24 Aug, 2019 14:45

I really enjoy the uniqueness of this currency! It makes me want to inhabit that world, and raises so many questions about the rest of life. Curious what will be used for the placeholder images in the end, and looking forward to diving deeper into the world!

25 May, 2020 08:08

Thank you! Yeah, it'll be a fun, very weird, world to explore... A real world building challenge. :)   What questions does it raise, out of curiosity?

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
24 May, 2020 21:29

Holy crap, this is incredible! Very different! I love this idea so much, I wish I had come up with it, heheh. How in the world did you come up with this?! :o This is some god-tier originality! I'm going to have to check out more of this...!

25 May, 2020 08:13

Thank you very much :D   Well, I started with the quote at the top there - time is money - and tied it to the fundamental concept of the world, following that thread to a logical conclusion. What has value in what is essentially a time-travelling society's economy? How does their world function, supply and demand, and so on.   Then added some metaphysics to that. What is it that makes it valuable as currency, how is it generated/mined/minted, and what is the context within the setting. Chronotopia's a pretty weird world and I wanted to play with that, so I started thinking about how Time can be traded, bartered and expended. There'll be a lot more coming where Ticks play an important part, from time-travel to item generation.   I'm probably going to write some sort of article about how exactly I come up with ideas, so keep an eye for that. :)   Unfortunately, Chronotopia's pretty empty right now - though I am planning on writing more soon. If you like it, I've got another 3-4 worlds that are morefully fleshed out.   Thanks for the comment :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
25 May, 2020 21:15

Oh, making an article about how you come up with ideas isn't a bad idea...! I might want to do that for my worlds, too...   Very cool background for Ticks! And, yep, I've looked at your other worlds. I'm both interested in and terrified of Araea, since it's...um...I don't do well with bugs and scary underground stuff like that. :p Great world, it is, though! Lots of articles, indeed.   I'll be keeping an eye on this world regardless! :)

Master Brinsmead
Caitlin Phillips
18 Nov, 2020 20:41

This article is just mindblowing in its uniqueness. I absolutely love it! "It is a sense of Deja Vu, a sudden rush of memories or a sense of lost time." That gave me shivers!

Cait x
19 Nov, 2020 09:10

Thank you very much :D I am hoping to get back to this world for WE!

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
21 Apr, 2021 11:58

Wow! You took the concept "Time is money" to a whole new level. I want to know if there are conflicts in this world. Do people go to war over Time?

21 Apr, 2021 14:56

That never changes, I'm afraid. It's somewhat uncommon since there's less humanity to go around in general, but there's absolutely a lot of conflicts, heists, skirmishes, and hijinx. :)

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
25 Dec, 2021 12:12

This is a fascinating concept! So technically you could sell years of your own life, right? Do you have to go in stasis for that long while the time is being harnessed? Do people suddenly age up when they come out or do they stay the same age but just die young?

To see what I am up to, see the list of my Summer Camp articles—my favourite is Sentient Cells.
25 Dec, 2021 12:57

Yes, definitely! It is kind of the only way Ticks are accumulated - someone has to go in stasis.   In Chronotopia, people don't actually age anymore since 'time' don't really exist anymore. So if you want to get a few hours of money, you go into stasis for a few hours. You emerge when that duration has passed. It means anyone, technically, can make any amount of money but there's a lot of shenanigans going on still :D   Thank you so much :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.