LazyCoin: A System And Method For Ceasing Normal Work Activities


A few weeks ago I created a conceptual currency called LazyCoin with Brian Clifton, Karl Ward, Jon Wasserman, and Surya Mattu. Unlike typical currencies, which aim to represent and store value, LazyCoin is a store for non-value: you produce LazyCoin by doing nothing.

LazyCoin is also an inversion of the BitCoin protocol: the currency is physical and can only be generated by two or more humans in close proximity, in accordance with protocol that we outline in our white paper. We were inspired by Melville’s Bartleby – it’s a currency that “would prefer not to.”

If you’re interested in how LazyCoin works, I’ve included our full white paper below – you can also read a more beautifully formatted version of it here, and take a look at the github repository here.


A new currency that stores non-value.

1. Introduction

“Why do you refuse?”
“I would prefer not to.”
– Herman Melville

LazyCoin is a currency that quantifies lack of activity. With LazyCoin, the more you do nothing, the more value you create.

2. The Minting Process: Proof of Non-Work

In brief, proof of non-work constitutes one person staring at another person doing nothing.

Minting new LazyCoin requires participation from at least two parties: one or more Generators, and one Verifier. The role of the Generator is to do nothing. The Verifier observes the Generator to ensure that he or she is doing nothing. When the Generator finishes producing LazyCoin, the Verifier signs a blank LazyCoin, making note of the date and the amount of LazyCoin produced. The Verifier gives the newly minted, certified LazyCoin to the Generator to complete the minting process.

The smallest unit of LazyCoin is minted in one minute.

During the minting process, the Verifier may choose to continue his or her normal, productive activity while periodically checking in on the Generator. The Verifier may also produce LazyCoin along with the other Generators. Should the Verifier choose the latter, he or she must receive Verification from the other Generators.

Proper verification requires that all parties remain in line of sight for the duration of the minting process.

The Generator should never do anything while minting LazyCoin. However, under certain circumstances, and with prior approval by a Verifier, the Generator may pretend to do something.

3. Currency Cap

The daily currency cap of LazyCoin is limited by the number of minutes in a day and the number of people on the planet. According to current population estimates, this means that the maximum possible LazyCoins that can be produced in one day is 10,303,200,000,000.

4. Verification Issues and Resolutions: A System of Trust

The extremely young, the extremely old, the incarcerated, the homeless, and others excluded from the productive workforce are the most natural producers of LazyCoin.

However, the extremely young are not mentally developed enough to be each others’ Verifiers, and the extremely old have higher risk of conditions that could compromise their ability to effectively Verify (such as senility or other diseases of the mind).

To protect against potential exploitation, LazyCoin can only be minted by those who are aware they are minting LazyCoin.

LazyCoin is not immune to forgery. Instead, it relies on a system of trust and reputation: if a Verifier is caught forging LazyCoin, his or her reputation in the LazyCoin community will decrease. Verifiers who fraudulently sign LazyCoins or sign LazyCoins minted by “zombie” Generators will inevitably be exposed and removed from the system.

5. Double-Earning

One benefit of LazyCoin is the possibility of minting LazyCoin while simultaneously earning standard currency. For example, a LazyCoin Generator may choose to mint LazyCoin while working a salaried job, simply by ceasing normal work activities and doing nothing. If the Generator earns income through freelance or hourly work, he or she can attempt to simultaneously mint LazyCoin by padding hours or making fraudulent entries on a timecard.

6. Exchanging LazyCoin

As with all currencies, LazyCoin can only be exchanged with those who are willing to exchange it. During the initial phase of LazyCoin minting, we recommend that all LazyCoin Generators accumulate as much LazyCoin as possible and store their earnings under mattresses and floorboards for later non-use.

Unlike typical “fiat” currencies that require mutual participation from multiple parties for transactions to take place, LazyCoin can be exchanged with consent from only one party: the person holding LazyCoin. For example, a person holding LazyCoin could enter a store and deliver LazyCoin in exchange for buying nothing.


I recently created a project that generates patent applications from literary texts. I ran the LazyCoin white paper through the generator, and produced the following patent: A system and method for ceasing normal work activities. Here’s an excerpt:

The present invention would prefer not to.

The present invention is a currency. The device does nothing. The present invention is nothing. The invention pretends to do something. The invention compromises their ability. The device is possibility. The present invention earns standard currency. The device chooses to mint. The invention works a salaried job. The invention ceases normal work. The present invention enters a store.



Naturally, LazyCoin is an open source project. This github repository contains the white paper detailing the LazyCoin protocol, the LazyCoin patent, and blank printable LazyCoins. Please feel free to make a pull request if you have any suggestions about changing the LazyCoin protocol or any other aspect of the project.

We also plan on creating a LazyCoin ATM: a person sitting alone at a desk in an abandoned office who offers to verify LazyCoin production for anyone who passes by. I’m confident that LazyCoin is poised to forever alter the value of nothing.

14 thoughts on “LazyCoin: A System And Method For Ceasing Normal Work Activities

  1. Virtual Mining Bitcoin News » Lazycoin: Finally, a Currency for the Rest of Us

  2. Lazycoin: Finally, a Currency for the Rest of Us | SerendiWitty

  3. I appreciate that this is date and time format agnostic. Functions the same DD/MM/YY as it does MM/DD/YY, and 24-hour time works just as elegantly as 12-hour time. Great foresight.

  4. Lazycoin: Finally, a Currency for the Rest of UsPally News | Pally News

  5. I’m delighted to learn that finally we have a currency appropriate for us Zen Buddhists. After all, the word “Zen” comes from the word “Zazen”, which means essentially “just sitting, doing nothing.”

    According to wiki:
    “Zazen is considered the heart of Zen Buddhist practice. The aim of zazen is just sitting, that is, suspending all judgmental thinking and letting words, ideas, images and thoughts pass by without getting involved in them.”

    It would appear that one who is minting lazycoin is engaging in a fairly straight zazen practice. The fact that one might be well caught up in one’s thoughts while minting lazycoin (or engaging in zazen) does not detract from the process of minting lazycoin (or engaging in zazen [regardless of what your abbot may say.]) Indeed, engaging in zazen with a tumultuous mind is time honored in some traditions, though considered needlessly hard and risky.

    I like also that lazycoin requires a verifier to witness the non-action of the generator, and that indeed, two or more generators can co-verify each other. This fits quite harmoniously with my experience of group zazen at the zendo. We’ve been generating lazycoin without even knowing it.

    Thanks for sharing this!

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  7. Eine Währung für Faulenzer: LazyCoin | Robotergesetze

  8. Could a url be included on the bills? It would make things easier with people unfamiliar with the currency.

  9. I object to the egregious (I use that word every rare opportunity I can) exclusion of “the extremely old.”

    I am 81 years old and have spent a large portion of that time doing absolutely nothing. I have absolute proof in that I have absolutely nothing to show for doing absolutely nothing.

    Res ipsa, quad erat and all that shit.

    I am not speaking of the so easily acquired passive, nothing-doing, doing-nothingism involved in sleeping or drug and alcohol induced träumerei. That is cheating. Anyone can do that.

    Doing nothing requires focus, concentration, effort, err . . . mmm . . . forget it. I’m going back to bed.

  10. LazyCoin: A System And Method For Ceasing Normal Work Activities « Brian Clifton

  11. Not sure how I missed this, but it seems promising. ;) /2014/05/

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