Australian Signals Directorate 50 cent coin with coded message

3 September 2022

Australian Signals Directorate coded commemorative fifty-cent coin

Image courtesy of Royal Australian Mint.

I’d never heard of the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) until now, but in short they’re a government intelligence agency.

To mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of their establishment, the Directorate, in association with the Royal Australian Mint, have issued a commemorative fifty-cent coin. But not any fifty-cent coin… this one comes with a hidden, coded, message:

Designed in collaboration with staff from ASD and the Royal Australian Mint, the commemorative coin pays tribute to the evolution of signals intelligence with multiple layers of cryptographic code included in the design. A hidden message will be revealed as each layer of code is cracked; all that is needed is a pen, paper, Wikipedia and brainpower.

Anyone who thinks they’ve cracked the code is invited to submit their answer to the ASD, who will reveal the correct message at the end of September 2022.

Update: well that was quick… ABC News reports a fourteen year old Tasmanian boy cracked the code in about an hour, on the day of the coin’s release.