Coinbase beefs up legal team again, adding IP leader from Capital One

Employees of Coinbase Global Inc watch as their listing is displayed on the Nasdaq MarketSite jumbotron. April 14, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

NEW YORK, NY (Reuters) - Amid an extended legal department hiring spree for newly-public Coinbase Global Inc., the fintech company has swiped a top in-house lawyer from Capital One who helped spearhead the bank's recent investments in intellectual property.

Ariana Woods spent four years at Capital One, most recently as associate general counsel and head of intellectual property. On Thursday, she announced on LinkedIn that she's joined Coinbase as head of IP at the cryptocurrency exchange.

Coinbase, the first major cryptocurrency company to go public, made its market debut through a direct listing on Nasdaq last month with an $85 billion opening day valuation. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have experienced wild gains and wild volatility in recent weeks amid a spike in investor interest.

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The legal department at Coinbase has seen its own crypto-like expansion, minus the big downturns. The most high-profile addition was chief legal officer Paul Grewal, who joined from Facebook Inc last summer. Since then, Coinbase has brought on a string of senior lawyers, including head of enterprise compliance Ian Rooney from Morgan Stanley, director and associate general counsel of commercial Molly Abraham from flying car company Kitty Hawk, and associate general counsel of consumer product Lindsay Danas Cohen from Velocity Markets, a digital asset firm now owned by Securitize.

Last March, the company added Doug Sharp as an associate general counsel from Fenwick & West, which has close ties to Coinbase and advised on its direct listing last month.

Neither Woods nor a representative from Coinbase was immediately available to comment on her hire this week. During her tenure at Capital One, it led the banking industry in amassing utility patents for two years in a row, it said in January.

Before joining Capital One in 2017, Woods was a senior IP lawyer with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and practiced IP law at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner.

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Reporting by Arriana McLymore

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Arriana McLymore reports on the business of law, including diversity in the profession, corporate practices, legal education and attorney career life cycles.