ASD goes hard on minting cryptocurrency, releases new coin to market
Marketing of cryptocurrency coin is not usually associated with Five Eyes spy agencies, but the Australian Signals Directorate may well have a highly fungible hit on its hands if the queue outside the Royal Australian Mint’s online store on Thursday is anything to go by.
Celebrating the release of its spring collection of numismatics, the Mint has put out the uncirculated 50c coin celebrating ASD’s 75th anniversary. It’s a bit of hard-currency coin that will set you back $12.50 on release — if you can get one.
Cast just over the road from the fabled Deakin Telephone Exchange of early NASCOM fame, the coins feature “four levels of coded messages and two bonus hidden codes”, according to the Mint’s marketing, giving collectors and speculators some intellectual sport with their trophy.
However, the use of such overt marketing tactics at both organisations is underscored by some pressing challenges.
While the celebration of ASD’s 75th birthday is no doubt important, the agency is expanding quickly and needs a far bigger talent pool to draw upon than ever before. Hence, the roadshow of very public events like coin releases and putting some of its hardware on display at the National Museum this year.
Securing a pipeline of top-flight tech skills requires a bit of chutzpah in a crowded market that has every bank lining up to steal cyber talent.
It’s a bit more existential for the Mint. The shift to electronic payments and cash displacement is reducing the use of coins overall, cruelling demand for everyday shrapnel and forcing a rethink of how to value add to what may soon be a redundant form of currency.
The Australian National Audit Office in 2018 warned the shift to digital transactions risked making the Mint a profitless venture as coin use inevitably declines.
Still, Deakin’s coin stamping shed putting up a valiant effort to draw in the collectors.
Also released on the same day as ASD’s commemorative coin is a Lunar Series for the year of the Rabbit that ranges from $15 for a 50-cent piece to $3,,700 for a $100 “gold proof domed coin”.
It really is a big year for Bunnies supporters.