Coinbase grows in-house team again, adding SEC, Shearman alum

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(Reuters) – Christian Sabella, who was most recently acting director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Trading and Markets, has joined Coinbase Global Inc, the company’s chief legal officer Paul Grewal announced on Twitter Monday.

Sabella will lead the cryptocurrency exchange’s capital markets legal work, Grewal wrote. A Coinbase representative said the company had no immediate further comment.

Sabella joined the SEC in 2011 from Shearman & Sterling, where he was an associate specializing in structured finance and over-the-counter derivatives. His roles at the agency included associate director for the Office of Clearance and Settlement in the trading and markets division. He was named deputy director of the division in 2018 and acting director in January 2021.

Coinbase has expanded its legal department rapidly since Grewal joined from Facebook Inc last summer, and since becoming a publicly traded company in April.

Last month, the company brought on Ariana Woods, who spent four years leading Capital One’s legal department, as head of IP. It also recently added head of enterprise compliance Ian Rooney from Morgan Stanley; associate GC for commercial Molly Abraham from flying car company Kitty Hawk Inc; and associate GC for consumer product Lindsay Danas Cohen from Velocity Markets Inc, a digital asset firm now owned by Securitize Inc.

Last year Coinbase added Doug Sharp as an associate general counsel from Fenwick & West, which advised on its April direct listing.

Coinbase was the first major cryptocurrency company to go public and had an $85 billion opening day valuation when it debuted on Nasdaq.

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Chinekwu Osakwe covers legal industry news with a focus on midsize law firms. Reach her at