The Royal Australian Mint has made history after releasing the first Aussie coin featuring a secret code.
The groundbreaking new 50 cent coin has been launched to mark the 70th anniversary of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).
It was released earlier this week at the same time as the Mint’s new “Coincryption” competition, which celebrates the secret and elusive world of spies and espionage.
There are 20,000 coins available, and they are being sold for $10 each.
Each coin features an encrypted message — similar to those used during the Cold War — and if you’re able to decode it, you can score a one-of-a-kind ASIO coin.
They come with a “one-time pad” that was previously used by the Soviet intelligence service, the KGB, to crack secret messages.
Once you buy a coin, you can enter your encrypted code into the online Coincryption competition, which closes on December 2.
You will then be in the running to win the only ASIO-designed coin in history.
“The Royal Australian Mint is honoured to commemorate the last seven decades of ASIO’s important work with the very first coin produced by the Mint featuring an encrypted code similar to that used by operatives during the Cold War,” Royal Australian Mint CEO Ross MacDiarmid said in a statement.
Director-general of security Duncan Lewis said it was “wonderful” to see ASIO and the Mint work together on the project.
“Spooks and spies is an intriguing theme and often the stuff of novels and film. It is exciting to see this theme interpreted in such a creative and enduring way,” he said.
“2019 is a milestone year for ASIO, offering a natural point of reflection to commemorate our history and celebrate our success, our people and our culture — it marks 70 years of ASIO’s service protecting Australia and Australians.
“As ASIO’s 13th director-general of security, I am immensely proud to have led an organisation of such calibre.”
According to the Mint, poor encryption practices during the post-World War II era allowed the Five Eyes allies to decrypt some of the KGB cables under Operation Venona, revealing the presence of a Soviet spy ring active in Australia and prompting the United Kingdom to urge Australia to establish a security service, leading to the establishment of ASIO in 1949.
It was designed to protect Australia’s national security as well as the security of our close allies.