What-If Case Study for Bitcoins: Theodore Herzl


Theodore Herzl has been credited, mistakenly or not, as the founder of the Zionist movement. Herzl’s family had enjoyed a comfortable, bourgeois existence in Vienna and Paris, but by the time he died of heart failure at age 44 in 1904, Herzl had used up his money pursuing the Zionist cause, leaving the family penniless.

After Herzl died,  his wife and children appealed to the World Zionist Organization for money on which to live. The leaders of the movement asked their membership for funds and in a very short time, the equivalent of three million U.S. dollars at the time were raised. The Zionist leadership in 1906 chose to invest the money into 4 percent, 30-year bonds represented by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the safest and most secure investment in central Europe at the time. This assured the family members a substantial income for the rest of their lives. Eight years later, World War 1 happened, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire ceased to exist. The bonds which were supposed to support Herzl’s children became worthless.

Bitcoins and cryptocurrencies at the time didn’t exist yet, but had they existed and the World Zionist Organization invested the 3 million dollars there, this situation wouldn’t have happened where 3 million dollars disappeared into thin air, at least not at the hands of an empire gone bankrupt since bitcoin by definition isn’t under the domain of any one country or empire.