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Max Return: On April 27, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas entered an order of default judgment and permanent injunction against Cornelius Johannes Steynberg of Stellenbosch, Western Cape, Republic of South Africa. The order requires Steynberg to pay $1,733,838,372 in restitution to defrauded victims and a $1,733,838,372 civil monetary penalty, which is the highest civil monetary penalty ordered in any CFTC case. The CFTC complaint alleged Steynberg, individually and as the CEO of Mirror Trading International Proprietary Limited (MTI), engaged in an international fraudulent multilevel marketing scheme to solicit Bitcoin from members of the public for participation in an unregistered commodity pool MTI operated.  It will be interesting to see how much of the $3.5 billion will be actually recovered. https://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/8696-23 

Leaving Las Vegas: On May 2, Coinbase announced the launch of its international derivatives exchange, Coinbase International Exchange, listing Bitcoin and Ether perpetual futures after receiving a license from the Bermuda Monetary Authority.  It is not accessible to anyone in the U.S. https://www.coinbase.com/blog/introducing-coinbase-international-exchange

We Are Not Singling You Out, Really: On May 2, the Biden administration formally introduced a proposal for the Digital Asset Mining Energy or DAME excise tax in a blog post on the White House website.  Claiming that cryptocurrency mining firms “do not have to pay for the full cost they impose on others, in the form of local environmental pollution, higher energy prices, and the impacts of increased greenhouse gas emissions on the climate,” the administration proposes a 30% tax on electricity used in mining. Should Congress amend the Internal Revenue Code, the new tax would be phased in over three years, adding a 10% tax in year 1, 20% tax in year 2 and 30% in year 3 onwards. https://www.whitehouse.gov/cea/written-materials/2023/05/02/cost-of-cryptomining-dame-tax/

Will It Be a “Must Read”?: On May 4, Paul Grewal, Chief Legal Officer of Coinbase announced that the Third Circuit entered a minute order in Coinbase’s petition for a writ of mandamus against U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to provide clear rules directing the SEC to file a response to Coinbase’s petition within 10 days. Stay tuned – this one might get interesting. https://twitter.com/iampaulgrewal/status/1653898889311948800

Includes Everything But the “Y”: On May 5, New York Attorney General Letitia James proposed a bill called The Crypto Regulation, Protection, Transparency, and Oversight Act, or CRPTO Act.   Calling her bill the “the strongest and most comprehensive set of regulations on cryptocurrency in the nation,” James seeks to stop conflicts of interest by, among other means, preventing common ownership of crypto issuers, marketplaces, brokers, and investment advisers and requiring independent public audits of crypto exchanges. The proposal also requires crypto platforms to reimburse victims of fraud and boost the power of the New York State Department of Financial Services. The bill will be submitted to the State Senate and Assembly during the 2023 legislative session.  https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/2023/attorney-general-james-proposes-nation-leading-regulations-cryptocurrency

The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm or its clients, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.


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Lauri K. Goodwyn | Counsel

Lauri K. Goodwyn is Counsel in Seward & Kissel’s Corporate Finance Group. She joined the Firm in 2005.

Lauri has extensive experience representing both buy and sell side clients on a wide array of matters, including but not limited to (a) negotiating: (i) ISDAs and related confirmations; (ii) prime brokerage agreements, futures and options agreements, FX and credit intermediation agreements, term margin agreements, securities lending agreements such as MRAs, GMRAs, MSLAs, GMSLAs, tri-partite, control and custody agreements as well as other trading related documentation; (iii) employment agreements; (iv) electronic trading agreements; and (v) vendor, service and general commercial contracts; (b) implementing new businesses and product lines (including but not limited to FX intermediation- prime brokerage and a start up swaps business); (c) structuring trades; (d) advice relating to litigation, securities, futures and commodities issues, as well as Dodd Frank compliance, credit/risk and general corporate matters; and (e) advice relating to crisis management for hedge funds.

Prior to joining Seward & Kissel, Lauri was Deputy General Counsel, Senior Vice-President at Fimat USA, Inc., a registered broker-dealer and futures commission merchant. She also  has worked at Societe Generale Corporate and Investment Banking, supporting its commodity division. Lauri has general commercial litigation experience (including two trials)  before the state and federal courts located in New York as well as arbitration before commodity related exchanges.


  • Lauri was elected to serve as the first Chief Operating Officer of the Hedge Fund Association in 2020 and currently serves in this capacity.


  • Hedge Fund Association: Global Board Member; Regulatory Committee Co-Chair
  • Seward & Kissel’s Women’s Initiative: Executive Committee Member
  • Seward & Kissel’s Blockchain Committee
  • New York City Bar Association- Women in the Legal Profession Committee  Class of 2023; former member of Futures and Derivatives Law Committee
  • Lauri is also a member of various ISDA committees.