Potential benefits:

- Payment system for the unbanked.

- Reduce or eliminate credit card fees -- no credit cards. 

- Reduce or eliminate credit card transaction delays. If I buy something from you with Bitcoin, you get my money right away. 

- Reduce or eliminate the power of central banks. 

Bitcoin could function in the financial industry the way open source works in the software world. One of the benefits of open source is it keeps proprietary vendors on their toes.