Return of the Dragon Coins!

[This promotion has ended. I will do another one at some point.]

You asked for it, you got it: the challenge coins are back! Last year, over the course of several months, I designed and commissioned a set of 100 super-cool, security-enhancing dragon challenge coins to give out to new patrons on Patreon. (It was actually a long but fascinating process, and my patrons have access to the “making of” video.) I ran a promotion last summer and another one last fall, and now it’s time to do it again!

challenge coin
Firewalls Don’t Stop Dragons – official challenge coin

The coin comes in three different metallic finishes: gold, silver and copper. Below you can see the front and back of these coins (in that order), though honestly the pictures do not do them justice. These things are hefty and you really have to see one in person to appreciate the detail and color.

I wanted the image on the front to be a fun, fantasy depiction of a dragon ravaging a castle – to coincide with the central metaphor in my book and the theme of the podcast. You’ll even note that in the image, the owner of this castle was caught with their drawbridge down! The back of the coin has dragon flames, the name of the book/podcast, and my signature catch phrase!

Security-Enhancing Device

But how can this coin be used to enhance your security, you ask? Well, you may have noticed two other interesting features about the coin design that come into play here. First, around the edge of the front you’ll see numbers, ranging from 1 to 20, in random order. And if you look carefully at the back, you’ll notice that in the middle is a slightly raised nub. This coin is actually a spinning top… or what you could call a “dice coin”! If you place the coin on a flat surface, you can spin the coin and stop it with your finger. In this way, you can “roll” a 20-sided die (a “d20” in Dungeons & Dragons parlance) to generate random numbers between 1 and 20. 

Okay… so that’s cool, but how can I use that to be more secure? Well, you can use these randomly generated numbers to pick a secure passphrase! That is, you can use the dice rolls to pick random words from a special list – and those words are used to create a secure passphrase! To learn more about passphrases and the math behind them, see my blog post. But, if done properly, a 6-word passphrase can be about as secure as random 12-character password – and it’s much easier for the human brain to remember. I even created a whole website to help you do it: d20key.com. And on this site, you can see the coin in action!

Get Your Own Dragon Coin

So the only question left to answer is: HOW DO I GET ONE?? From now through 11pm Eastern on June 17 (2022), I’ll be running a promotion for new patrons. If you become a patron before that deadline, here’s what you’ll get (in addition to the regular patron benefits):

  • Castle Guard ($5): 1 dragon challenge coin
  • Knight-Errant ($10): 2 dragon challenge coins + an optional shout-out on my podcast

I only made so many of each color: 50 gold, 30 silver and 20 copper. The copper ones in particular are getting scarce, so if you want your choice of color, don’t delay!

UPDATE: I’m also throwing in some of my new stickers! You’ll get one per coin! Here’s what they look like:

During this promotion, I’ll offer a couple optional benefits to new Knights-Errant. You can record your very own tagline, which I will play as the intro to one of my shows! I can also announce your knighthood to the realm (that is, announce your name on the air)! I try to make this fun and show my appreciation where I can.

Note that there are a couple restrictions. First, I can’t ship everywhere on the planet, but I can ship to most places. If this is a concern, reach out to me and I’ll verify if I can ship to you. Second, due to the cost of the coins and shipping, I will need to wait for your second Patreon payment before I ship the coin(s). That’s usually at the start of the next calendar month.

Many Other Patron Benefits

Of course, there are many other benefits to being a patron, like bonus podcast content and a private Discord server where you can chat directly with me and the other patrons. You can get the full list of benefits by going to my Patreon site, but I’ve just recently added some really fun rewards at the Knight-Errant level:

  • Private podcast called “Merlin’s Musings” with more technical content
  • Privacy & Security book club (we’re starting with The Art of Invisibility)
  • Bi-weekly curated list of privacy and security news articles

I have other rewards and benefits in the works, and I’m always soliciting new ideas from my patrons. Come and join the community – become a knight of the realm!