Understanding OUSD: An Overview

Optim Labs
3 min readMay 21, 2024

Basic Design and Flow of User Funds

OUSD operates under the simple but extensible architecture whereby users mint new OUSD tokens by locking up certain accepted stablecoins as reserves. Once minted, these tokens can either be held, spent, or staked for earning additional returns through a staking mechanism where staked OUSD tokens are transformed into sOUSD. The conversion rate initially is 1:1, but as yield accumulates in the system, the value of sOUSD relative to OUSD grows, rewarding stakers. Redemption of OUSD for underlying stablecoins is straightforward: redemptions are handled through DEXs. OUSD trades against both ADA and other stablecoins with the system autonomously arbitraging selected pools to keep a tight OUSD peg.

System Reserves

For the initial reserves required to mint OUSD, partnerships will be formed with various entities minting stablecoins like USDM and potentially others such as USDb by Butane. These partners help provide additional data to ensure robust reserve requirements are met. Moving forward, as more data becomes available on various stablecoins in the Cardano ecosystem, we expect that OUSD reserves will be able to be onboarded without any input or partnerships with issuers.

OUSD in the Stablecoin Ecosystem

OUSD is part of a larger family of stablecoins which includes others like Djed and iUSD. What sets OUSD apart is its multi-reserve approach and its continuous adjustment of reserves based on performance metrics like peg stability, market liquidity, and compliance scores. This dynamic system allows OUSD to adapt to market conditions more fluidly, maintaining its peg more consistently than some other stablecoins. The ability to stake OUSD for underlying yield is another unique feature of the system.

Use Cases for OUSD

OUSD is designed to be a versatile and scalable stablecoin for the Cardano ecosystem.

Here are some of its primary use cases:

  1. Daily Transactions: OUSD’s stability makes it an ideal medium of exchange for everyday transactions, providing an option for payments that avoids the volatility typical of other cryptocurrencies.
  2. Yield Generation: By staking OUSD, users can earn yields, which are generated from the reserves invested in various yield-bearing assets or through Automated Market Makers (AMM).
  3. Hedging Against Volatility: Users can convert volatile assets into OUSD to preserve the value during turbulent market conditions.

Security and Compliance

The security of the reserves and the smart contracts on which OUSD operates is paramount. All reserves are required to pass rigorous compliance and security audits. The system itself undergoes continuous reserves management review along with a bug bounty program to ensure strong economic and smart contract security.

The deployment of OUSD also involves automated checks to prevent destabilizing redemption spikes and to ensure the system remains liquid and stable under stress.

More about reserves requirements and the ongoing evaluation of reserve assets can be found on Optim’s Gitbook in the subsections of: optim-finance.gitbook.io/optim-finance/ousd/ousd-reserves/reserve-criteria


OUSD’s innovative system architecture and its dynamic approach to managing reserves make it an important addition to Cardano’s stablecoin ecosystem. For users, whether you’re looking to make everyday transactions with, earn yields through staking, or find a haven from market volatility, OUSD will offer a robust and reliable solution. Understanding the mechanisms and use cases helps clarify how stablecoins like OUSD fit into the broader crypto landscape on Cardano and beyond.