Nicole M. Moran



  • Washington


Nicole Moran provides financial and economic analysis in complex commercial litigation and regulatory proceedings, and supports experts in preparing for deposition and trial testimony. Dr. Moran has extensive expertise in derivative markets for both exchange-traded and over-the-counter products that involve trading activity, order book data, and the evaluation of market designs that affect market participant behavior. She leads Cornerstone Research’s FinTech group on cryptocurrency exchanges, derivative contracts, blockchain, and initial coin offerings.

In cases related to market manipulation and antitrust, Dr. Moran has:

  • Analyzed trading in foreign exchange products by one of the top foreign exchange broker-dealers facing multinational investigations of collusion and manipulation of foreign exchange markets
  • Analyzed trading in interest rate derivatives by a major multinational bank under investigation in several countries for possible manipulation of LIBOR and similar financial benchmarks
  • Analyzed allegations of manipulative trading on cryptocurrency exchanges, including trading of Bitcoin and Ether
  • Assessed Section 11 allegations using allocation of crypto tokens in the genesis block
  • On behalf of numerous crude oil trading companies, analyzed physical and financial product trading activity in response to government trading investigation
  • On behalf of a futures exchange, investigated trading and positions in response to a government investigation
  • On behalf of a large food company, investigated purchasing, production, and hedging behavior in response to government and civil proceedings
  • On behalf of a joint defense, investigated price-fixing allegations for indirect purchasers of optical disk drives
  • Analyzed valuation of municipal bonds
  • Analyzed and developed rebuttal arguments regarding antitrust claims and market manipulation claims brought in civil cases

In additional to leading Cornerstone Research’s FinTech group, Dr. Moran leads the firm’s research related to analysis of U.S. natural gas transactions from FERC Form 552 submissions. She has published chapters in various books, including “Agriculture” in Commodities: Markets, Performance, and Strategies, Oxford University Press and “Bubbles, Food Prices, and Speculation: Evidence from the CFTC’s Daily Large Trader Data Files” in The Economics of Food Price Volatility, University of Chicago Press. Her research has also been published in leading journals, including the Journal of Futures and the Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

Prior to joining Cornerstone Research, Dr. Moran was a research economist at the CTFC, where she conducted statistical and econometric analyses on derivative markets and agricultural futures.


Trends in CFTC Virtual Currency Enforcement Actions—2015-2021


From Zero to 100: Crude Oil Price Changes in 2020–2022


CME Ether futures: How is the contract designed?


Characteristics of U.S. Natural Gas Transactions: FERC Form 552 Submissions as of July 2021

Press Release

U.S. Natural Gas Physical Trading Volume and Marketed Production Remain High


Characteristics of U.S. Natural Gas Transactions


The CFTC’s Approach to Virtual Currencies


Trends in CFTC Virtual Currency Enforcement Actions

  • “Market Abuse and Disruptive Trading,” FIA Law & Compliance Division Conference, 29 April 2021
  • “Cryptocurrency Regulation, Enforcement and Litigation,” Securities Enforcement Forum West 2020, 12 May 2020
  • “Fintech: Do New Technologies Require New Regulatory Approaches?,” 28th Legal and Legislative Issues Conference, Financial Markets Association, 24 October 2019
  • “Cryptocurrency Regulation, Enforcement and Litigation: 2019 Developments and What Comes Next,” Securities Enforcement Forum 2019, 23 October 2019
  • “Initial Coin Offering (ICO) Regulation in 2019: Trends, Developments, and What Lies Ahead,” webinar, 6 August 2019
  • “Competition and Market Concentration in the Municipal Bond Market,” 8th Annual Municipal Finance Conference, 15 July 2019
  • “Cryptocurrency Regulation, Enforcement and Litigation: One Year Later,” Securities Enforcement Forum West 2019, 9 May 2019
  • “Cryptocurrencies and ICOs: Where Will Enforcement Strike Next?,” Securities Enforcement Forum East 2018, 1 November 2018
  • “Emerging FinTech Topics,” Financial Institutions Litigation 2018, 18 October 2018
  •  “Right-Sizing Regulation,” USDA’s 94th Agricultural Outlook Forum, 22 February 2018