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That's a pyramid scheme. I think that SpaceX is also not a pyramid scheme.

It is not a scheme. It is NOT pyramid scheme. NOT Ponzi.

Difference of Pyramid vs Ponzi

- Ponzi: the fund manager/fraudster is the one who recruits new members

- Pyramid: existing members have to recruit other new members

In both schemes, there is no underlying product/service. Money contributions from new members are used to pay existing members.

To be clear, Tesla/SpaceX is NOT Ponzi, NOT Pyramid.

You are correct in saying Tesla is neither a Ponzi nor pyramid/MLM scheme, but you have erred in your distinction between the two.

A Ponzi scheme purports to have some amazing business opportunity, but secretly pays returns using money from new investors. They will often use MLM/pyramid-style recruiting tactics, and not solely rely on the fraudster for recruitment.

It's true that MLMs pay out fees collected from newer recruits, but everyone knows where the money is coming from. Usually MLMs also have some semblance of actual business activity (Mary Kay, Amway, Herbalife, etc.)

No, that's a Ponzi scheme. Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes are very similar. Essentially, a Ponzi scheme is where you pay people based on the enrollment of new people. A pyramid scheme is where the payout is based entirely on the new recruit's ability to recruit more people.

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