CNBC Stock Draft contestant Oz Pearlman is betting bitcoin will hit $12,000 by next year

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Mentalist Oz Pearlman’s bet on bitcoin is propelling him to an early lead in the CNBC Stock Draft — and he’s convinced it will help him take the championship title.

In fact, he predicts the cryptocurrency will rally to $12,000 by the end of the contest, which began with the closing prices on April 25 and concludes with the closing prices on Jan. 31, 2020.

“It is going to lead me to victory,” Pearlman said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Power Lunch. ” “I’m swinging for the fences here.”

Bitcoin’s value has increased more than 120% since the beginning of the year, hitting $8,325 on Tuesday morning, according to data posted on the website CoinDesk. It has since given up some of those gains.

Oz Pearlman selects Bitcoin in the 2019 CNBC Stock Draft.

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Thanks to that performance, Pearlman has taken the early lead in the draft. He’s up about 17% total for his three picks, which also include Disney and Goldman Sachs. The winner is determined by the average percentage change of all three selections.

Pearlman said he expects the cryptocurrency to continue to fluctuate — and that is key to helping him win.

“A blue chip stock that is going to be a Fortune 500 company, what are the odds that it is going to jump 100% in a year? Few and far between,” he said. “Bitcoin, we have seen that so many times.”

It was just in late 2017 that bitcoin hit all-time highs of around $20,000.

Sitting at the No. 2 position right now in the CNBC Stock Draft is “Mr. Wonderful,” Kevin O’Leary. His selections — Johnson & Johnson, Altria and Procter & Gamble — have earned him an average gain of just under 1%.

O’Leary, a “Shark Tank” investor and chairman of O’Shares ETFs, slammed bitcoin earlier in the day.

“It is a useless currency,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“To me, it’s garbage, because you can’t get in and out of it in large amounts.”

— CNBC’s David Reid contributed to this report.

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to ABC’s “Shark Tank.”