The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) wants you to crack a secret code hidden in plain sight on a 50-cent coin. It’s the intelligence agency’s way of sussing out the code-breaking skills of a bunch of Aussies, and a fun way to commemorate its 75th anniversary.
While the ‘traditional’ gift for a 75th anniversary is a diamond or two, and the ‘modern’ gift is gold, the ASD 50-cent coin is unfortunately made of the same standard copper and nickel compound you’ll find in any 50-cent coin.
But, unlike a normal 50-cent coin, this one is covered in secret, coded messages from the ASD.
The coin is not intended for circulation. There are 50,000 specialty coins available for purchase from the Royal Australian Mint.
In tribute to the importance of code breaking and the evolution of signals intelligence, multiple layers of cryptographic code have been included in the design of the coin.
The ASD said a hidden message will be revealed once each layer of code has been cracked.
“All that is needed is a pen, paper, Wikipedia and brainpower,” the ASD said.
To commemorate our #75YearsOfASDHistory, today we are excited to unveil a limited edition 50c commemorative coin. The coin, designed in collaboration with @RoyalAustMint will be a keepsake for years to come. Learn more about our anniversary coin at https://t.co/zdWpcQP8IG pic.twitter.com/DiHIaOi5c1
— Australian Signals Directorate (@ASDGovAu) September 1, 2022
The 50-cent coin commemorates the ASD’s historical roots in World War II, “harnessing and mastering technology to reveal foreign secrets and protect Australia’s own”.
The coin serves a larger purpose than just being a fun puzzle to solve, with ASD director-general Rachel Noble telling the ABC that those who crack the codes could be “pretty well placed” to get a job with the signals directorate.
“We thought this was a really fun way to engage people in code-breaking with the hope that, if they make it through all four levels of coding on the coin, maybe they’ll apply for a job at the Australian Signals Directorate,” Noble is quoted as saying.
After purchasing your coin, and of course deciphering the coded message, you’ll need to submit your answers to the ASD. Correct answers will be revealed at the end of the month, the ASD said.
It’s a cute way to celebrate 75 years.
The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans
It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.