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Probably a simple question, but I believe it is important to state it clearly for the beginners like me out there.

What is the hash function used for the Bitcoin proof-of-work? What implementations are available? Any Java implementation?

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Bitcoin uses SHA256d to hash block headers, which is sha256(sha256(x)).

In anticipation of your next question, it uses a double hash to protect against length extension attacks (source).

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    In reality extension attacks aren't really applicable to proof of work anyway, but convention is probably as good of a reason as any I suppose.
    – Claris
    Sep 3, 2015 at 21:47
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From Bitcoin Wiki PoW and tangentially, HashCash:

SHA256(SHA256(Block_Header)) but you have to be careful about byte-order.

Specifically, it is SHA256d

Implementations are often standard libraries, like Python's hashlib.

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