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The UK’s former cyber security chief has raised the alarm over the sale of a Welsh microchip manufacturer to a Chinese-backed company.

Ciaran Martin, the former chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), said the purchase of Newport Wafer Fab by Nexperia, a Dutch subsidiary of the Chinese company Wingtech, poses a greater threat to British interests than Huawei’s involvement in the 5G network.

Boris Johnson has asked national security adviser Sir Stephen Lovegrove to look at the deal, worth a reported £63m, while MPs have called on ministers to intervene.

But, Charles Smit, a board member and general counsel at Nexperia, told the BBC earlier this week: “We’re not owned by the Chinese state, the Chinese state is not involved in Wingtech.”

Sky News has contacted Nexperia for comment.

Mr Martin, who was chief executive of the NCSC until last August, described the future of microchip supply as a “first order strategic issue” for the government to get a handle on.

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He was part of the NCSC when it altered its security assessment of equipment manufactured by Huawei, with the firm eventually excluded from the UK’s rollout of 5G on security grounds.

“Huawei in the periphery of 5G only really mattered because the Trump administration became obsessed with it for reasons they never convincingly set out,” Mr Martin told The Daily Telegraph.

“By contrast the future of semiconductor supply is a first order strategic issue. It goes to the heart of how we should be dealing with China.”

His comments come after the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee called for tougher action to stop strategically important companies being sold overseas.

The cross-party group of MPs said the UK’s “sovereignty should not be for sale” and called for the takeover of Newport Wafer Fab to be formally called in for review.

“Appropriate mitigation measures” should be introduced by ministers, they also said.

“Our fiercest competitors, notably China, have a track record of using foreign investments to gain access to important technologies and information,” committee chairman and Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat said when the report was released.

“We’ve witnessed too many of our country’s brilliant tech firms disappear abroad with potentially significant economic and foreign policy implications.”

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SEC solicits comments on Fidelity’s spot Ether ETF application




SEC solicits comments on Fidelity’s spot Ether ETF application

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission called on the public to comment on a proposed rule change that could allow asset management firm Fidelity to offer shares of its spot Ether (ETH) exchange-traded fund, or ETF.

In a Nov. 30 notice, the SEC said “interested persons” may comment on the Fidelity offering, proposing the Cboe BZX Exchange list and trade shares of its Fidelity Ethereum Fund. Fidelity first filed for approval of the fund on Nov. 17, becoming one of many firms looking to throw their hats into the ring for a spot crypto ETF in the United States.

The filing noted that investors in other countries, “including Germany, Switzerland and France,” had opportunities to gain exposure to Ether through exchanges offering exchange-traded products. At the same time, the U.S. “lacked a U.S. regulated, U.S. exchange-traded vehicle.” Members of the public will have 21 days to submit comments upon publication of the filing in the Federal Register.

“U.S. investors […] are left with fewer and more risky means of getting ether exposure,” said the filing. “The lack of an ETP that holds spot ETH […] exposes U.S. investor assets to significant risk because investors that would otherwise seek crypto asset exposure through a Spot ETH ETP are forced to find alternative exposure through generally riskier means.”

The filing added:

“Approval of a Spot ETH ETP would represent a major win for the protection of U.S. investors in the crypto asset space.”

Related: Grayscale files for new Ether futures ETF — Official

The SEC has not approved any listing of a spot cryptocurrency exchange-traded product or fund for U.S. markets despite applications from many firms going back years. Exchanges began listing and trading shares of ETFs tied to Bitcoin (BTC) futures in October 2021 and debuted nine Ether futures ETFs in October 2023.

Many reports and experts have suggested the SEC could be nearing a decision on a spot crypto ETF for listing on U.S. markets. It would be one of the most significant positive trends toward mainstream crypto adoption if approved. At the time of publication, the commission had not given the green light to any spot Bitcoin or Ether investment vehicle.

Magazine: BlackRock meets with SEC over ETF, Binance’s new era begins and SBF loses release bid: Hodler’s Digest, Nov. 19–25