OWIN is an interface specification. It decouples a web applications from IIS. If you are using ready-made components (which is what Katana is), then some parts of the application functionality are much easier to implement compared compared to old ASP.NET. Authentication with third-party identity providers (Facebook, Twitter) is one example of this. OWIN is essentially a collection of best practices, which have been proven in web development communities. It shows a way to implement web apps which is very open to extensibility. As each web developer should constantly be on the cutting edge of new technologies, this is one way to stay up to date with the whole web development community and not just .NET. If you learn OWIN, it would be much easier to learn other web development frameworks like Express for node.js or Rack for Ruby, because the practices they use are similar.
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