Kevin Mei

Welcome to my personal website! 

I am a fourth-year Finance PhD student at The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business. My research interests include financial intermediation, financial technology, and macrofinance. 

Prior to joining the PhD program, I worked for Boston Consulting Group for five years and left as a Project Leader. My case experience is concentrated in the telecommunications industry, financial institutions, and pricing topics. 


We model a community platform where users learn the about quality of its services over time by using its native tokens. The key friction is users can buy tokens for services or trade them primarily for speculation. In the presence of network effects, this tension can cause learning traps where no user adopts the platform’s services because the risk-adjusted benefit of adoption is lower than that from speculation. Our model can be applied to any asset that derives value from network effects and suggests high token inflation and incentive schemes favoring service usage may be integral to sustaining user participation.

Presented at: University of Delaware and Philadelphia Fed Fintech and Financial Institutions Conference 2024

Through blockchain addresses used by ‘‘pig butchering’’ victims, we trace crypto flows and uncover methods commonly used by scammers to obfuscate their activities, including multiple transactions, swapping between cryptocurrencies through DeFi smart contracts, and bridging across blockchains. The perpetrators interact freely with major crypto exchanges, sending over 104,000 small potential inducement payments to build trust with victims. Funds exit the crypto network in large quantities, mostly in Tether, through less transparent but large exchanges—Binance, Huobi, and OKX. These criminal enterprises pay approximately 87 basis points in transaction fees and appear to have recently moved at least $75.3 billion into suspicious exchange deposit accounts, including $15.2 billion from exchanges commonly used by U.S. investors. Our findings highlight how the ‘‘reputable’’ crypto industry provides the common gateways and exit points for massive amounts of criminal capital flows. We hope these findings will help shed light on and ultimately stop these heinous crimes. 

Media coverage: Bloomberg, BusinessInsider, The Daily Texan

Policy mentions: CFTC Press Release, Senate Committee on Armed Services

Presented at: 4th Annual Crypto and Blockchain Economics Research (CBER) Forum