Interest and demand in Bitcoin rose a lot in 2021 despite the digital asset’s turbulence. More than half of current investors got in over the last 12 months, according to crypto-firm Grayscale Investments LLC.

In a survey of 1,000 people, about a quarter said they already owned Bitcoin and of that 55% said they started investing this year.

The results underscore the explosive growth cryptocurrencies have seen this year as investors plowed money toward the volatile asset class amid growing popularity of even ancillary products, like non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Bitcoin is up about 70% in 2021 after a recent sell-off, while some other tokens, such as Ether, have seen their value surge five times over.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult for investors to ignore Bitcoin as its price continues to rise,” the survey said.

Nearly 80% of those polled in the U.S. said they’d be more likely to put money toward the asset class if a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund existed, a product regulators have yet to approve.

Grayscale, which conducted the survey in mid-August, recently filed to convert its $35 billion Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (ticker GBTC) into a physically backed ETF. But so far, U.S. regulators have only allowed the launch of a futures-based Bitcoin fund.

According to Grayscale’s survey, investor preferences for how they’re buying cryptocurrencies is shifting. In 2020, more than three-quarters said they preferred buying Bitcoin via an exchange, whereas close to 60% now say they favor trading through a crypto app like eToro or Coinbase. Just over one-third said they prefer an exchange now.

The digital-asset manager said investors are increasingly treating Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, as a store of value and many are choosing to hold on to their investments.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.