A Closer Look at WAC Lab and Homebase Adoption

Learn more about WAC Lab, which is fostering cultural institution adoption of Tezos, and Homebase, the application that allows for the creation and management of DAOs on Tezos.

Originally published at Tezos Commons News

By William McKenzie


1,550 words, 8 minute read

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As blockchain technology continues to saturate mainstream culture there is still some level of confusion on what the underlying technology is within the traditional world. Thus, eliminating this knowledge gap that exists within Web3 for institutions and others alike is a key issue.

Luckily, there are people at the forefront like the fine folks at WAC Lab who are coming together with art professionals, cultural institutions, technologists, and strategists. The group is learning and experimenting on how the Tezos blockchain can be used in arts and culture, and more specifically DAOs.

Let’s learn more about WAC Lab and some of the work being done with DAOs on Tezos.

What is WAC Lab? #

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Web3 for the Art and Culture (WAC Lab) is a program created by We Are Museums and in collaboration with Blockchain Art Directory. We Are Museums is a community of museums and changemakers organizing events/developments around the future of museums and technology. This initiative began in December of 2021 with a second cohort already being initialized.

A cohort lasts about 8-9 months with 3 different phases. It is open to all art and culture institutions without restrictions. The first phase is called WAC Weekly. Every week at 6 pm CT there are online discussions around museums and Web3 with summaries published weekly. This is a great way to create a space for people to share the news around Web3 and the museum industry by asking tough questions while thinking critically.

The second phase is for the WAC fellowship which is an application-based process. The second cohort is still ongoing with 12 institutions being welcomed into the fellowship. Last year (2022), there were 8 institutions that were welcomed in the first cohort. The fellowship itself is about 12 weeks of training, with courses and challenges covering blockchain, smart contracts, DAOs, art applications, and an emphasis on the technology that powers Tezos and its ecosystem.

At the end of the fellowship, there is a 4-week accelerator called the WAC Factory. Basically, the different institutions that have gone through the program are matched with ‘tech integrators’ (ex. fx(hash), objkt, Smartchain). They are then given the challenge to set up a working product or prototype within 4 weeks. These working products or prototypes range from a simple on-chain voting tool, NFT shop, live-minting, or proof of learning, etc.

For the first cohort, there was a live-minting generative art experience. The artwork was generated through a beta program for each guest that participates in Ian Cheng’s Life After BOB exhibition at Light Art Space Foundation in Berlin. The visitors were required to share details such as their birthdate and name in order to produce a customized unique generative NFT.

The goal of the program as a whole is centered around identifying new use cases for blockchain technology, with a focus on Tezos in arts and culture. Their goal is to help onboard more users while helping the Tezos brand be more connected within the art world.

Institutions Are Getting Into DAOs On Tezos #

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Did you know there is an easy way to create and manage DAOs on the Tezos blockchain?

It’s called Homebase.

Homebase is a web application that enables users to create and manage DAOs on the Tezos blockchain. This application aims to help empower community members and developers to launch and participate in Tezos-based DAOs. It allows anyone to easily and quickly spin up a DAO within a few clicks through it’s polished and simple user interface.

With Homebase, spinning up and creating a DAO on Tezos can be done in a matter of minutes.

As part of the work from the WAC Lab, there’s been some interest in using Homebase for institutions. Diane Drubay of WAC Lab and We Are Museums shared some insight into some of the developments with me.

With WAC, we have 2 institutions that are looking at setting up DAOs. Those institutions are HEK (House of Electronic Arts) and the Berlin Institute for Sound and Music. The Berlin Institute for Sound and Music is interested in Homebase directly while HEK is more open to the idea of something multi-chain, wanting the possibility to have something seamless. They will likely start on Ethereum and potentially integrate Tezos for an access token shop.

The Berlin Institute for Sound and Music is looking to find a way to support musicians in residency. This is focused on finding a new revenue stream to support the residency giving artists access to mentors and new equipment. To achieve this, they’re thinking about creating a DAO where musicians who are wishing to apply to the residency can donate 1 artwork. It will then be donated to the Institute and sold as NFTs to generate the treasury. The treasury will be managed through an on-chain voting tool and distributed to small grantees of the upcoming residency.

So, I think what they’re actually looking for is a decentralized on-chain crowdfunding system where thanks to NFT donations, you can vote and distribute the funds. It’s a quite classical model of a DAO. But, to apply this to support artists who can join a residency and then produce something and generate more revenues for the DAO, I think that’s quite interesting.

When it comes to using a DAO and the benefits for an institution like the Berlin Institute for Sound and Music, it makes sense to begin ‘testing the waters’. As technology continues to evolve and grow, much like the Tezos blockchain, so does the need to cater towards one of the more prolific areas of growth in the Tezos ecosystem; NFTs.

I can’t think of any better entities to begin experimenting with DAOs on Tezos than institutions like HEK and the Berlin Institute for Sound and Music.

Key Insight from Diane Drubay #

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I had the chance to sit down with Diane Drubay of We Are Museums and WAC Lab. We discussed some of the motivations behind creating WAC Lab and how institutions are using Homebase for their DAO needs.

What was the motivation behind creating WAC Lab?

It comes as a very personal story. I founded We Are Museums and that has been my project for the past 10 years. I’m also a visual artist and starting minting on hic et nunc in March 2021. I started to get very involved in the hicathon and be passionate about the vision of hic et nunc founder Rafael Lima. This led me to get in touch with TZ Connect, an ex-Berlin-based Tezos entity of the Tezos Foundation, to help promote more of these outreach activities. Along the way, we realized a safe space was really missing and people were only really shilling themselves in Twitter Spaces with less critical comments on the industry and experts chiming in.

In November 2021, I started working with TZ Connect, initiated the art efforts and led WAC Lab. We aim to constantly explore, guide, provide knowledge, and ultimately provide new use cases for blockchain in art and culture. The need was really there for this knowledge and safe space as I mentioned earlier. This also trickled down to bringing some more trust. In 2021 there wasn’t a ton of trust in all of this technology due to some of the developments in the news and the technology being so new.

I believe if you want to foster change and innovation you need to have these in-depth relationships with people. This takes time to cultivate, it can’t be achieved over a 1 hour Twitter Space. It takes months of hand-holding, discussions, and experimentation.

What is something that you’re most excited about outside of the adoption of DAOs for museums/NGOs?

I think it’s worth highlighting the fact that perpetual donation is something that is quite interesting for museums. This is basically what we’ve done with the hicathon, we called for donations and received more than 600 NFTs. The hicathon wallet is still even getting donations to this day. This concept is something that is amazing for NGOs and museums. Just by having a purpose-driven project, people want to share and donate. They don’t just want to do it once either and it can be a long-term generating revenue stream.

This concept blew my mind 2 years ago and I don’t think people trully understand the full potential of this. We keep thinking about event-based or 1/1 type auctions. When you think about impact and change, you need to consider the long term. This is exactly what that represents.

Looking Forward #

As the Web3 space continues to grow and gain momentum, so does the need to close the knowledge gap that exists. For institutions wishing to try and adopt this new technology, they need a place to start and what better place to start than Tezos? It’s exciting to see the great work being done by the WAC Lab for onboarding institutions to blockchain and specifically, Tezos! I look forward to seeing how these endeavors manifest themselves in the coming months.