Daily digest: The NFT market has cratered, the MTA got hacked, and more

Going Down?

Daily digest: The NFT market has cratered, the MTA got hacked, and more

A New York City subway platform (Billy Williams/Unsplash)

Welcome back to another Thursday roundup of news from across the web. In today’s arts, technology, architecture, and urbanism news, there are as many ups as there are downs, so let’s dive in.

Here’s what you need to know today:

The NFT market seems to be cooling off just as companies get in the game

After the sales of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) saw a meteoric rise in the first half of the year (and the promised creation of the world’s largest NFT museum in Manhattan), interest has dropped by 90 percent from their $102 million-a-day peak in May. In worse news for artists, one-off collectibles and digital real estate are currently outselling art NFTs (or digital proofs of ownership), even as more and more companies invest in tools like the ability to buy media articles as NFTs. Of course, as the old axiom goes, once companies begin jumping on a trend, it’s probably winding down.

H/t to Protos

Cruise ships will start rolling into Venice again soon

As tourists begin returning to Venice, so too have the mega cruise ships that once polluted the air and raised water levels, much to the chagrin of international preservationists. Although ships of over 40,000 tons were finally banned from entering the city’s core in March, to be redirected to Marghera, an industrial port on the Italian mainland. Of course, that hasn’t happened yet, and the MSC Orchestra will reportedly sail into the Venetian Lagoon this Sunday, as cruise organizers claim the new port isn’t ready yet. Now museum officials, preservationists, actors, and more are calling on the Italian government to back the ban as promised.

H/t to The Art Newspaper

The pandemic didn’t bruise U.S. museums as badly as first thought

Yes, over the last 15 months AN has dutifully been reporting on the dire fate that cultural institutions faced during the pandemic. Reports that up to a third of U.S. museums could shutter were commonplace, but a year later, have they borne out? According to a new report by the American Alliance of Museums, which conducted the original survey, it looks like only 15 percent of institutions are now at risk of closing—not a great figure, but much better than original estimates. Revenue was down across the board according to the 1,000-plus museum directors surveyed, and staff was slashed nearly uniformly, but things could be looking up as we roll into summer and more museums can reopen.

H/t to Artnet News

Hackers breached the MTA’s systems in a cyberattack

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) can’t seem to catch a break. The agency, which oversees New York’s bus and rail service, was reportedly breached in a cyberattack in April and authorities are investigating whether the hackers had ties to any foreign governments. This is the third time the agency has had its systems breached, and although no information was stolen, MTA officials are worried that the attackers could have potentially accessed train control systems.

H/t the New York Times

Pete Buttigieg will visit Memphis to evaluate the closed Interstate 40 bridge

Today U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is in Memphis, Tennessee, to evaluate the shuttered Hernando de Soto Bridge that connects Tennessee and Arkansas via I-40. The Mississippi-spanning bridge was closed on May 11 after a break in one of the structure’s 900-foot horizontal steel beams was discovered, and has remained close since, with road traffic rerouted around the bridge. Buttigieg’s visit will be to examine how the shutdown has affected commercial traffic and product shipments. The Secretary’s visit comes as the Biden administration’s blockbuster infrastructure bill is still being negotiated in the Senate.

H/t to the Washington Post

Workers remove temporary barriers and memorials from George Floyd Square in Minneapolis

The informally named George Floyd Square, the intersection in Minneapolis where Floyd was killed by police one year ago, has gradually grown to become an informal memorial site covered in barriers, flowers, and art. Now, the city has begun work on removing most of those items, as the intersection at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue has also been closed to vehicle traffic due to those same objects being in the road. The massive raised fist sculpture at the center of the intersection will reportedly remain permanently.

H/t to the Star Tribune