He3Labs at the 100th Crow Fair

by Matthew Hine

Much of He3Labs is on the way to the landmark 100th annual Crow Fair at the Crow tribe reservation in Montana to show what e-government services and digital currency fully built on blockchain could look like. We will attend with Jeff MacDonald of NEM, our blockchain platform partner for this tremendously exciting demo, which we think is one of the most impactful projects in blockchain today.


For more than a year, we have been working with Universal Tribal Partners (UTP) – an organization of former and current Native American government and business leaders dedicated to bringing new economic activity to the tribes. We built a close partnership with UTP to bring the benefits of blockchain technology to applications that benefit the tribes and their people.

E-Government Using Blockchain

UTP and He3 have been working closely with the Crow Tribe to pioneer the concept of comprehensive government services using blockchain. Rather than try to incrementally improve existing traditional government systems with blockchain – like building a blockchain voting system without changing anything else – we have been studying how to build a complete system from scratch taking maximum advantage of blockchain integrated across government services. For example, voting on blockchain makes much more sense and can be made much more robust and secure if official government IDs are already built on the blockchain. Likewise for government services like deploying a new digital currency for a sovereign nation, or managing records for citizens such as land registration.

Developing on NEM’s latest Catapult platform gave He3Labs the ability to develop this demo system at unprecedented speed. Something that would have taken many months on a smart contract platform could be created in a fraction of the time using NEM’s “smart asset” style development.

We believe that the integrated approach to blockchain-based government systems is the way forward and could give smaller, nimbler sovereign nations like the Crow Tribe a huge advantage over larger governments and economies. More efficient, accessible, and reliable systems in these areas will make a real impact on people’s lives.

We were granted the enormous privilege of showing the first demonstration of this kind of capability to government leaders and Crow citizens at the 100th Crow Fair this week – a milestone for the Crow Tribe and yearly gathering that is a cultural event and much more. As technologists, we don’t often get the chance to demonstrate tech that has this level of potential impact – and certainly not to regular people rather than just other technologists, business leaders, or early adopters. This kind of narrowing of the gap from technology to real-world impact should be what blockchain is all about, and it’s exciting to be a part of it.

We will have a much more in-depth look at our e-government demo system and our showing at Crow Fair in the coming weeks.