In the context of blockchain gaming, human mining is a play-to-earn mechanism in which players earn cryptocurrency (and more recently, NFTs) directly from the game. Blockchain games typically distribute the tokens from a few main sources:
- Cryptocurrency saved from the initial token supply or newly minted along with each new block in the chain
- NFTs generated by gameplay activities (such as crafting weapons or armor at a smith)
- Cryptocurrency collected from other players as fees for playing or purchasing special items
- Cryptocurrency and NFTs donated by blockchain projects looking for marketing exposure
Although the name "human mining" was originally meant to contrast with proof-of-work mining using computer hardware, human miners are usually not confirming transactions to help achieve network consensus (such systems are called proof-of-play). The concept was originally conceived by the Huntercoin team, whose game utilized it; some outside the gaming industry now also use it to refer to the use of humans to secure blockchains in general.