• A tech company specializing in blockchain has logged over $100 million in multi-level marketing transactions
  • The FTC warns that many MLMs are scams
  • Efforts by MLM detractors haven't stopped the businesses from spreading to new platforms

Data from Antier Solutions, a technology firm specializing in blockchain technology, indicates that cryptocurrency and decentralized finance may be the next frontier for multi-level marketing (MLM) strategies. MLMs, however, remain a deeply controversial business structure that most often simply redistributes money from the many to the few.

Antier Solutions is an international company based in India that offers everything from consulting to infrastructure to oversight, all with a focus on blockchain. It’s been pushing blockchain-based MLMs, a strategy that’s apparently paid off with over $100 million in transactions using Antier’s infrastructure.

Antier’s press release noting the milestone characterizes the main problem of MLM’s as one of execution.

“The traditional MLM process is beset with inefficiencies such as centralized control over the system, lack of trust and transparency, and delayed payments to release users' incentives which can hold back even the best of MLM projects,” it reads.

Antier promises that the combination of multi-level marketing with blockchain can help smooth operations and ensure a “win-win situation.”

Others are less sure. The Federal Trade Commission notes that some MLMs are illegal pyramid schemes, and almost all make the vast majority of their participants no money.

“Most people who join legitimate MLMs make little or no money. Some of them lose money. Some also end up deeply in debt,” reads the warning.

MLMs have sparked a growing backlash online, with entire communities dedicated to fighting their spread and informing participants of their dangers. Comedy is often employed to educate people on what they see as a scam, with even personalities like John Oliver pitching in.

They’ve proven only partially successful, with MLMs migrating from Facebook to TikTok and now, apparently, to decentralized finance communities.

blockchain bitcoin cryptocurrency
In this photo illustration, a visual representation of the digital cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is displayed in front of the Blockchain logo on Feb. 12, 2020 in Paris. Chesnot/Getty Images