Digital markets pose fundamental challenges for the private enforcement of antitrust, regulatory and consumer protection rules that protect consumers, firms and workers from anti-competitive behaviour and corporate misconduct. These markets often feature platform-based business models, multi-sided markets, direct and indirect network effects, economies of scale and scope and intricate eco-systems which render competition issues more complex and which create scope for exclusionary and exploitative practices. In addition, while digital technologies can sometimes helpfully disrupt concentrated uncompetitive markets, they can also create new opportunities to collude, to exploit and to discriminate. 

As the impact of the digital sector extends beyond information goods and services into other areas of the economy, civil society groups, firms across the economy, and policymakers are increasingly being forced into action to defend the rights of consumers and firms to participate in fair, open and competitive markets. Fideres is one of the leading economic consultancies working to address misconduct in digital markets through research and litigation. Through our investigative work, we identify evidence of violations of competition law, regulatory rules and consumer protection laws across the jurisdictions in which we operate. We assist law firms and regulators throughout the life of the litigation, from filing to settlement. 

 

Our track record and strong specialist knowledge in digital markets allows us to advise on a range of mis conduct in digital markets:

  • Most Favoured Nation (MFN) / Price Parity Clauses
  • Self-preferencing
  • Exclusive and quasi-exclusive dealing
  • Loyalty discounts
  • Tying and Bundling
  • Margin squeeze
  • Refusal to dealForced free-riding & content scraping
  • Privacy policy tying
  • Platform envelopment
  • Predatory pricing
  • Drip-pricing and other behavioural manipulation
  • Excessive prices or data collection
  • Algorithmic discrimination and personalised pricing
  • Coordinated pricing & price guarantees
  • Resale price maintenance
  • Online sales bans & minimum internet advertised prices
  • Non-compete and no-poaching agreements
  • Hub and spoke cartels
  • Market sharing agreementsAlgorithmic collusion

 

We work alongside law firms and regulators through all stages of litigation providing:

  • Research that outlines anti-competitive and discriminatory practices in digital markets
  • Damages analysis
  • Expert reports
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Plan of allocation and settlement distribution
  • Assessments of disparate impact on relevant protected minority groups
  • Data analysis
  • Merits reports

Cryptocurrency Price Manipulation

Problem

  • The emergence of cryptocurrencies has brought with it novel means by which market participants may be able to manipulate the market to the detriment of investors
  • Fideres was tasked with identifing a pump-and-dump scheme used by Tether and Bitfinex to potentially inflate the price of Bitcoin
  • We were also tasked with identifying manipulative transfers through wallets used by Tether and Bitfinex on the Bitcoin blockchain

Solution

  • Fideres built and maintained data infrastrucure to store, clean and analyze all transfers on the Bitcoin blockchain
  • We built screens to identify anomalous transfers on the Bitcoin blockchain that coincide with new Tether issuances
  • We built statistical models that quantify the potential impact of Tether issuances and large Bitfinex transfers on Bitcoin prices

Result

  • Filing of the first US cryptocurrency class action complaint in the US
  • We estimated class-wide impact and defined the relevant market for the class action
  • We established the theory of harm for how Bitcoin futures were impacted

 

 

We have provided expert economic advice in many of the most prominent international cases in digital markets:

  • Amazon eBooks market monopolization
  • Apple Appstore market monopolization
  • Trivago Consumer misrepresentation
  • Compare the Market abuse of dominance

Chris Pike

Head of Digital Markets

Managing Director