The FinTech landscape continues to evolve, with new and continuing litigation related to consumer financial services platform innovation, the economics of cryptotokens, features of a blockchain, and allegedly disruptive cryptocurrency trading practices. For clients involved in these matters, we provide significant technical know-how, in-house proprietary analytical tools, and the critical expertise needed to address these issues.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Christine A. Parlour

Sylvan C. Coleman Chair in Finance and Accounting,
Haas School of Business,
University of California, Berkeley

Christine A. Parlour is a finance expert who focuses on market microstructure, limit order markets, cryptocurrencies, FinTech, and payment systems. Professor Parlour provides expert testimony on a range of institutionally complex topics involving financial markets, institutions, market manipulation, cryptocurrency, and regulation. She is the former president of the Western Finance Association and a former member of the Nasdaq Economic Advisory Board. She has also served as visiting economist at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

For more than twenty years, Professor Parlour has researched issues related to the economics of financial exchanges. She specializes in financial markets, including equity markets, debt markets, and cryptocurrencies. In equity markets, she has examined price dynamics, competition for order flow, payment for order flow, and informed trading. Her research on cryptocurrencies addresses the effect of Central Bank Digital Currency on banking system stability, the costs of settlement on the Bitcoin Ledger, and how initial coin offerings (ICOs) differ from traditional funding.

Widely published, Professor Parlour’s award-winning research has appeared in leading finance and economics journals, including the American Economic Review, the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Finance, and the Journal of Financial Economics. She is an editor at the Review of Finance; associate editor of the Journal of Financial Markets, the Journal of Financial Intermediation, and the Journal of Financial Services Research; and a former associate editor of Management Science and the Journal of Finance.

Professor Parlour has taught courses in investment analysis, FinTech, auctions and microstructure, and capital markets. She is a winner of the Haas School’s Earl F. Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching.

She has held visiting academic appointments at INSEAD, the London School of Economics and Politics, and Paris Dauphine University. Professor Parlour is a past president of the Finance Theory Group.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Craig M. Lewis

Madison S. Wigginton Professor of Finance,
Owen Graduate School of Management,
Vanderbilt University;
Professor of Law,
Vanderbilt Law School

Craig Lewis is an authority on corporate financial policy, asset pricing, and financial market regulation. Professor Lewis is the former chief economist of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), where he also served concurrently as director of the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis. At the agency, he focused on economic analysis in the financial regulatory process, and oversaw a wide range of activities related to agency policy, rulemaking, enforcement and examinations, and risk analysis.

Professor Lewis’s expertise includes convertible debt financing, corporate capital formation, equity analyst behavior, money market and exchange-traded funds, and textual analysis of corporate disclosures. He has testified before Congressional committees. In addition, he has consulted to corporations, public institutions, and government agencies on financial issues, including Dollar General, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, State Street Global Advisors, Union Pacific Railroad, the Federal Trade Commission, and the SEC. He has experience consulting on cryptocurrency features and FinTech markets. Professor Lewis has filed expert reports, and provided expert testimony in deposition and at trial.

Professor Lewis publishes extensively on topics related to financial institutions and markets, and serves as an editor for leading academic journals in finance. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Financial Economics, the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Corporate Finance, and Financial Management, among others.

The winner of multiple awards for teaching excellence, Professor Lewis has taught undergraduate, M.B.A., and Ph.D. courses on corporate and managerial finance and derivatives. He served as a visiting professor at Donau-Universität Krems in Austria, Goethe-Universität in Germany, and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Early in his career, Professor Lewis worked as a CPA at a major accounting firm.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Mark J. Garmaise

Professor of Finance,
UCLA Anderson School of Management,
University of California, Los Angeles

Mark Garmaise is a corporate finance expert who specializes in topics related to banking, entrepreneurship, financial contracting, real estate, and securities. Professor Garmaise has testified in high-profile cases involving breach of contract, valuation, and damages. In Rule 10b-5 securities class actions and related opt-out matters, he has provided expert testimony on class certification and merits issues, including market efficiency, price impact, loss causation, and damages.

His industry experience includes FinTech, cryptocurrency, entertainment, financial services, investment banking, automotive, and microfinance. Professor Garmaise has also consulted with a U.S. bank on refining its residential mortgage delinquency model.

Professor Garmaise analyzes a range of complex issues affecting real estate markets, entrepreneurial firms, venture capital, and private equity. He has published papers on mortgage terms, the performance of small business lenders, and the effects of financial constraints on entrepreneurs. His research has appeared in peer-reviewed publications such as the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Finance, and the Quarterly Journal of Economics.

An award-winning instructor with more than two decades of experience, Professor Garmaise teaches MBA and executive courses on corporate finance, venture capital, and private equity (including investment strategies such as the use of special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs). He is a former senior associate dean of the MBA program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Previously, Professor Garmaise served on the faculty of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Jennifer Marietta-Westberg

Vice President

Jennifer Marietta-Westberg coheads Cornerstone Research’s corporate and government investigations practice. Dr. Marietta-Westberg consults on economic and financial issues arising in litigation and regulatory investigations in financial markets. She addresses allegations related to financial reporting, asset management, trading, private equity, and mergers and acquisitions.

An experienced expert witness, she has testified on matters related to Rule 10b-5/Section 11 securities class actions, damages in a cryptocurrency matter, alleged insider trading, corporate governance, and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Dr. Marietta-Westberg has supported respondents in enforcement actions involving the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). She leads large teams to support academic and industry experts at all stages of litigation, including trial.

Dr. Marietta-Westberg has chaired the Investor Advisory Committee of the SEC, which offers guidance to the Commission on regulatory priorities and initiatives to support the integrity of the securities marketplace. She also serves on the board of directors at the Institute for Law and Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Marietta-Westberg worked for ten years at the SEC, in several capacities. She served as the deputy chief economist and deputy director of the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis (DERA). Dr. Marietta-Westberg also managed economic analysis in support of Commission policy and rulemaking in the areas of asset management, broker-dealers, credit rating agencies, and market microstructure. She oversaw many of DERA’s economic analyses in support of international initiatives.

Prior to joining the SEC, Dr. Marietta-Westberg was an assistant professor at Michigan State University. Her research has been published in the Journal of Accounting and Economics, the Journal of Corporate Finance, and European Financial Management.

Women We Admire has named Dr. Marietta-Westberg to its list of exceptional Women Leaders in Washington, DC.

FinTech, Blockchain, and Cryptocurrency Capabilities

Cornerstone Research and our team of experts have substantial experience collecting and analyzing historical transactions data across blockchains, centralized cryptocurrency exchanges, and decentralized finance (DeFi) applications to provide valuable information and actionable insights for our clients, including:

  • Forensic tracing of token value transfer
  • Decoding the pseudo-anonymity of wallets
  • Economic analysis of blockchain properties

Our proprietary in-house blockchain databases and tracing tools support our crypto analysis and consulting services.

Cornerstone Research has consulted to clients and supported leading market microstructure experts on a wide range of issues pertaining to:

  • Reported volume integrity and market quality on major cryptocurrency exchanges
  • Token price discovery across cryptocurrency exchanges
  • Price impacts of large cryptocurrency orders
  • Wash trading allegations on specific cryptocurrency exchanges
  • Auction mechanisms
  • Assessment of the impact of stable coins on cryptocurrency markets

In regulatory investigations and private litigation arising from the initial distribution of cryptotokens, clients have retained Cornerstone Research to evaluate drivers of a token’s value through an economic lens. This includes assessment of fungible and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as well as stable coins. Our analyses have helped address issues within the context of the Howey Test, which lays out the general approach to determining whether an asset should be considered a security.

We leverage significant experience in complex securities cases and valuation assignments and apply it to cryptocurrency-specific issues. Cornerstone Research has conducted damages analyses in matters relating to cryptocurrency trading and token valuation. Our assignments have included:

  • Evaluating rescission damages claims for heavily traded cryptocurrencies
  • Valuing companies whose primary assets are illiquid cryptotokens
  • Analyzing damages claims through a comparison of the economic value associated with cryptocurrency trading strategies

Cornerstone Research assists clients in analyzing blockchain transactions, voting delegation, and proof of work or proof of stake designs. We have evaluated:

  • Underlying blockchain code for scalability and operability
  • Genesis block allocations and traced movements in cryptotokens for the purpose of assessing damage claims. This includes syncing nodes and using APIs (application programming interfaces) as part of the data processing and analysis.

As technology has begun to change the way consumers interact with financial products, new types of disputes have emerged. Our experience with traditional consumer financial products provides a solid foundation to assist clients with regulatory and litigation matters arising from new technology. For example, we have evaluated how existing consumer finance regulation applies to new platforms and how borrowers interact with developing technology for loan products. We have also analyzed financial “robo-advisors” and how automated investment strategies perform relative to alternative portfolios under different risk-return scenarios.

Cornerstone Research has extensive experience with assessing how government regulations apply to cryptocurrency and assisting clients with responses to government entities including the CFTC and SEC. This includes assessing allegations of unregistered securities offerings, estimating alleged harm, and evaluating claims of market manipulation. Our staff and experts have experience presenting analysis directly to regulatory entities.

Cornerstone Research has experience with multiple NFT matters involving:

  • Analysis of NFT trading records and prices.
  • Assessment of business operations of NFT platforms.
  • Analysis of the differences in NFT markets vs. traditional securities (e.g., stock and bond) markets and the role of information in various markets.
  • Analysis of NFT brand equity and assessing whether certain behaviors from a competitor harm that brand equity.
  • Evaluating drivers of NFT intellectual property value.

Featured Publications

24 January 2024

SEC Cryptocurrency Enforcement: 2023 Update

The SEC brought 46 enforcement actions against various digital-asset market participants in 2023.

19 September 2023

Trends in CFTC Virtual Currency Enforcement Actions—Q1 2015-Q2 2023

Between the first quarter of 2015 and the second quarter of 2023, the CFTC brought 100 actions against virtual currency market participants, includ...

1 September 2023

Trends in CFTC Virtual Currency Enforcement Actions

This report analyzes CFTC enforcement actions against virtual currency market participants, including traders, issuers, exchanges, and service prov...

30 May 2023

Tips for Making the Most of Blockchain Analysis

The authors outline how to understand blockchain data and discuss the SEC’s focus on blockchain transactions.

17 January 2023

SEC Cryptocurrency Enforcement: 2022 Update

Under the new administration, the SEC has continued its role as one of the main regulators in the cryptocurrency space.

11 August 2022

Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Trade Data Forensic Analysis

Cornerstone Research has extensive experience collecting and analyzing data from blockchains, centralized exchanges, and DeFi applications.

30 June 2022

Trends in CFTC Virtual Currency Enforcement Actions—2015-2021

This report analyzes CFTC enforcement actions against virtual currency market participants, including traders, issuers, exchanges, and service prov...

19 January 2022

SEC Cryptocurrency Enforcement: 2021 Update

Under the new administration, the SEC has continued its role as one of the main regulators in the cryptocurrency space.

18 January 2022

SEC Cryptocurrency Enforcement

This report analyzes SEC enforcement actions since the agency brought its first cryptocurrency-related enforcement action in July 2013.

10 November 2021

CME Ether futures: How is the contract designed?

The authors discuss how the CME Group calculates the price index underlying futures contracts based on the cryptocurrency Ether.

How can we help you?

For more information or assistance with a specific matter, please contact us.