An NFT collection launched by the German Federal Intelligence Service, or Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), as part of a campaign to recruit crypto and Web3 experts has minted out.

Following the Dogs of BND campaign launch on June 5, “all 987 available NFTs found new owners” by June 21, BND media relations manager Isabelle Kalbitzer told Decrypt.

Launched on its career-focused Instagram profile, the BND’s "blockchain challenge" involved deciphering a string of characters linked to the Ethereum blockchain, with successful participants gaining access to one of 999 exclusive dog-themed NFT profile pictures (PFPs).

The initiative was inspired by NFT PFP collections like CryptoPunks. The BND's social media team decided on German Shepherd dogs as the theme of their collection, a breed already popular on their Instagram page.


The challenge doesn’t appear to have taxed users, with one commenting that it "Took 2 minutes" to complete. “The people who were quick were able to secure the pictures with particularly rare traits,” said Kalbitzer.

"With our blockchain challenge and our NFT collection, we wanted to playfully draw attention to the fact that the BND is an exciting employer that is also active in these subject areas, within its mandate,” said Kalbitzer.

The remaining 12 NFTs will be used by the BND for future challenges, including a potential smart contract hacking challenge.

Unconventional recruitment methods

The BND’s approach to careers outreach is not without precedent; intelligence agencies have a long history of using unconventional recruitment methods.


During the Second World War, in 1942, the British Daily Telegraph newspaper organized a crossword competition following public complaints about its simplicity. The challenge was to complete the crossword in 12 minutes.

British Intelligence took the occasion to observe the competition closely, reasoning that the skills required for crossword solving were similar to those needed for deciphering coded intelligence. As a result, some successful participants were later contacted by the War Office and recruited for code-breaking work at the renowned Bletchley Park.

Similarly, in 2009, the UK's intelligence agency, GCHQ, targeted gamers through digital posters in online titles and video content on the Xbox Live network. And in 2017, it launched the CyberFirst Girls competition, with a view to addressing the gender imbalance in the cyber security workforce. It saw teams of girls from schools across the UK competing in challenges to stimulate their investigative, observational, and mathematical skills.

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