Karen Ubell

Karen Ubell

Listen to pronunciation of my name
PartnerCo-Chair, Digital Currency & Blockchain
Karen Ubell
San Francisco
+1 415 733 6074
Karen Ubell is a partner in Goodwin’s Technology group and serves as Co-Chair of the Digital Currency and Blockchain practice. She practices general corporate and securities law, focusing primarily on transactions and regulatory compliance in connection with the implementation and adoption of novel technologies, including blockchain, distributed networks, cryptocurrencies, and digital assets. Karen represents investors and issuers in digital asset offerings, private financings, and securities offerings, and advises startups and existing companies in the implementation and development of blockchain technologies and tokenization models. Karen also advises blockchain projects, digital asset trading platforms, and blockchain industry groups on regulatory compliance as well as direct interactions with regulators, offering unique perspective and insight gained from her experience in the Division of Corporation Finance at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 


Karen’s experience in the blockchain, cryptocurrency and fintech industries and deep knowledge of blockchain technology and applicable laws allows her to propose creative solutions and actively partner with clients to identify and design potential alternatives amid a complex and evolving regulatory landscape.

She has extensive experience serving as corporate counsel to emerging companies developing and distributing cryptographic tokens and other digital assets. Clients have described Karen as “among the most experienced, thoughtful, and versatile cryptocurrency lawyers in the nation.”

Karen also regularly advises companies on general corporate matters such as entity formation, debt and equity financing transactions, and corporate governance matters and counsels companies on regulatory matters associated with launching blockchain networks and distributing digital assets. She also assists investors in creating novel structures or terms specifically designed to align and capture shareholder value in blockchain networks and digital assets.

Karen’s experience includes:

  • Advising industry-leading projects regarding developing and structuring blockchain networks including compliant distributions of digital assets, NFTs, defi protocols and numerous Web3 platforms, working hand in hand with founders and technology team as they design and structure new projects and new digital assets.
  • Facilitating first of their kind regulatory settlements on behalf of financial technology companies including digital asset issuers.
  • Advising leading Silicon Valley venture capital funds regarding token-based investments and equity investments in blockchain technology companies.

Professional Experience

Karen served as an attorney in the Division of Corporation Finance at the US Securities and Exchange Commission from 2010 to 2016. Prior to joining Goodwin, Karen served as Special Counsel at Cooley LLP in Palo Alto.




University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law

(with Honors)

BAPublic Policy2003

Duke University



  • California
  • Georgia


Karen has been recognized for her work most recently in the 2023 edition of the Chambers Fintech guide, in which she was ranked as a Leading Lawyer for Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies. She is also recognized as a recommended lawyer for Fintech and Crypto by the Legal 500 US and is listed in the 2023 Who’s Who Legal: Fintech & Blockchain guide. Clients note that Karen “is an expert on the intersection of securities law compliance and the digital asset space and is fantastic at identifying case law and applicable rules.”


Karen’s recent speaking engagements include:

  • “Developments in Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Enforcement,” Practising Law Institute’s Alternative Finance Summit 2023: Fintech, Blockchain, and Crowdfunding (September 26, 2023)
  • Former SEC Lawyer: What You’re Missing About Securities, Ripple/XRP, & Prometheum,” Overpriced JPEGs Podcast (August 9, 2023)
  • The SEC vs Crypto,” Overpriced JPEGs Podcast (June 9, 2023)
  • "Token Masterclass,” Crypto Legal Frontier (May 11, 2023)
  • "Understanding the Glory of Staking,” Avalanche Summit II (May 4, 2023)
  • “Navigating Blurred Lines: Legal Considerations for Developers,” Solana Breakpoint 2022 (November 5, 2022)
  • “Token Structuring,” TechGC’s CryptoGC Retreat (October 25, 2022)
  • Crypto Lawyer Karen Ubell on Crypto Regulation, the SEC, and DAOs,” Stronghold SpeakBold Fireside Chat (October 18, 2022)
  • “DAOs and Web3: Will New Technology Bring the Death of the C-Corp?” Goodwin Virtual Event (May 17, 2022) 
  • “Nonfungible Tokens (NFTs) How High Can They Go?” Practising Law Institute, (September 22, 2022)
  • “Blockchain & Digital Currency National (Virtual) Institute,” American Bar Association (virtual event) (September 16, 2020)
  • “Blockchain, Tokens and Cryptocurrencies: Latest Developments,” Practising Law Institute (virtual event) (September 10, 2020)
  • Capital Controls with Aaron Stanley and Kristin Smith,” Consensus (virtual event) (May 11, 2020)

Karen’s recent publications include: