The Witnet mainnet is totally permissionles and open for anyone to join and and independently run their own node.
Like in many other blockchains, the activity of running a validator node and participating in block proposing is usually called mining.
Every time a block proposer gets 1 block accepted into the blockchain by the rest of the nodes in the network, they independently mint 250 new units of Wit tokens out of the blue.
Additionally, nodes that successfully participate in solving data requests get rewards in form of Wit tokens. These are not freshly minted — they are paid by the creators of the data requests as a mean to incentivize the miners to solve their requests.
How To Start Mining Wit
There are multiple ways to run a Witnet validator node. Listed below are the most common methods, with tutorials on how to get started real quick: