Option is a type that represents an optional value which may or may not exist. The concept of Option in Move is borrowed from Rust, and it is a very useful primitive in Move. Option is defined in the Standard Library, and is defined as follows:

File: move-stdlib/source/option.move

// File: move-stdlib/source/option.move
/// Abstraction of a value that may or may not be present.
struct Option<Element> has copy, drop, store {
    vec: vector<Element>

The 'std::option' module is implicitly imported in every module, and you don't need to add an import.

The Option is a generic type which takes a type parameter Element. It has a single field vec which is a vector of Element. Vector can have length 0 or 1, and this is used to represent the presence or absence of a value.

Option type has two variants: Some and None. Some variant contains a value and None variant represents the absence of a value. The Option type is used to represent the absence of a value in a type-safe way, and it is used to avoid the need for empty or undefined values.

In Practice

To showcase why Option type is necessary, let's look at an example. Consider an application which takes a user input and stores it in a variable. Some fields are required, and some are optional. For example, a user's middle name is optional. While we could use an empty string to represent the absence of a middle name, it would require extra checks to differentiate between an empty string and a missing middle name. Instead, we can use the Option type to represent the middle name.

module book::user_registry {
    use std::string::String;

    /// A struct representing a user record.
    public struct User has drop {
        first_name: String,
        middle_name: Option<String>,
        last_name: String,

    /// Create a new `User` struct with the given fields.
    public fun register(
        first_name: String,
        middle_name: Option<String>,
        last_name: String,
    ): User {
        User { first_name, middle_name, last_name }

In the example above, the middle_name field is of type Option<String>. This means that the middle_name field can either contain a String value or be empty. This makes it clear that the middle name is optional, and it avoids the need for extra checks to differentiate between an empty string and a missing middle name.

Using Option

To use the Option type, you need to import the std::option module and use the Option type. You can then create an Option value using the some or none methods.

// `option::some` creates an `Option` value with a value.
let mut opt = option::some(b"Alice");

// `option.is_some()` returns true if option contains a value.
assert!(opt.is_some(), 1);

// internal value can be `borrow`ed and `borrow_mut`ed.
assert!(opt.borrow() == &b"Alice", 0);

// `option.extract` takes the value out of the option, leaving the option empty.
let inner = opt.extract();

// `option.is_none()` returns true if option is None.
assert!(opt.is_none(), 2);