What just happened? Intel is pulling up at seat at the blockchain table, and aims to mingle amongst other hardware players in the emerging category. The chipmaker on Friday declared its intent to contribute to the development of blockchain technologies through the creation of an efficient blockchain accelerator.

Raja M. Koduri, SVP and GM of the accelerated computing systems and graphics group at Intel, said the architecture will be implemented on a tiny piece of silicon as to have a minimal impact on the supply chain.

Koduri hinted at Intel's blockchain ambitions late last year, but this is the first true confirmation we've heard on the matter with supporting details.

What's more, Koduri said Intel expects its circuit innovations to deliver an accelerator that has over 1,000 times better performance per watt than mainstream GPUs for SHA-256 based mining.

"We are mindful that some blockchains require an enormous amount of computing power, which unfortunately translates to an immense amount of energy. Our customers are asking for scalable and sustainable solutions, which is why we are focusing our efforts on realizing the full potential of blockchain by developing the most energy-efficient computing technologies at scale. " - Intel's Raja M. Koduri.

The company has formed a new custom compute group within Intel's accelerated computing systems and graphics business unit to support the initiative. Among its first customers will be Argo Blockchain, Block (formerly Square) and GRIID Infrastructure, a Bitcoin mining company.

With Apple's new Tap to Pay on iPhone feature encroaching on Block's turf and CEO Jack Dorsey's interest in crypto, it's not a surprise to see them among the first in line for Intel's new hardware.

Intel expects to ship its blockchain accelerator later this year and will share more information on the project at the International Solid State Circuit Conference (ISSCC) later this month.