Provably Fair and Why it Matters

3 min readOct 8, 2018


We’ve all been there in a game. Whether it’s a loot box, a roulette reward wheel, a “pick a card”, or some other item drop, you just never seem to get any of the good stuff. Is it fair? Well, as with many things, the correct answer is “it depends,” but you still have no way to know whether it is or not.

What is fair?

While it may seem like the game is cheating on you, it still could be fair provided you aren’t playing against the game and everyone else is playing by the same rules. For example, while a 3-card monte or shell game may present you with 3 cups to find the ball under 1 of them, your actual odds might be 1 in 10 or 1 in 100 or none at all (in real life the odds are zero). However, when this same opportunity is presented to everyone, then it is fair for all players, even if it seems cheesy.

But how can you know that the game is fair? How can you know that everyone has the same opportunity in any given situation?

2 Approaches to fairness

Fairness can be proved multiple ways.

One way is to simply open the source code for the game so that players can verify for themselves that the game is fair. This is perfect transparency.

Another way is for everyone involved to publish a “hash commitment” of information that is revealed after a move. The information can then be hashed to prove that the move was fair. This is common in some online gambling games.

Why it matters

For games where significant stakes (financial or time investment) are involved, it’s important that the rules of the game are sufficiently clear and that the game is fair. Unfair games have a special name: a “con”.

For Human Mining blockchain games to be provably fair, most likely they need to adopt the open source model. Code verification is essential. It’s the equivalent of having the rule book. Indeed, this is exactly how blockchain games operate: the code is the rule book, and everyone verifies every move according to it. Cheaters either immediately lose, or they’re ignored entirely and their moves count for null.

But that still doesn’t quite answer the “why” yet.

Economics matters. For a game to have a functioning, honest and fair economy, it must be transparent. Opaqueness can only raise questions, even if the game is in fact fair. Transparency dispels any doubt.

This is critical as game economies are voluntary, in contrast to state economies, i.e. nation states or countries, that have non-voluntary economies. As one example, in your country you must use the national currency; there is no choice. You cannot use GBP in the US, and the EUR isn’t accepted in Canada, etc.

As game economies are voluntary, confidence levels are all important. A “rare” and powerful sword’s value is in part determined by whether or not many more can be created. If a game company were to have a reputation for making rare items plentiful several months after the item were introduced, the value of those rare items would be far lower than if that initial rarity level were maintained. Why spend $5,000 on a sword that you can only use for a few months before it’s worthless?

Transparency and provable fairness provide 100% confidence levels in the system as it is and this lays the foundation for better decision making. From this point on, it is simply pure, free markets that decide on the value of digital assets at any given point in time.


By providing transparency and ways for people to prove that a game is fair, players can make decisions with perfect information and confidence. This bolsters the game economy and adds value to digital assets as their relative worth can be calculated as close as possible in an ideal free market. In this way, Human Mining is born and the play-2-earn model is enabled.

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